On the -mageddon watch

Rob Partington points me to recent stories on the 17-year cicadas, under the heading swarmageddon (swarm + Armageddon) — a topical portmanteau. That led me to the preposterous shawarmageddon, involving the food shawarma.

A few cites:

[Philadelphia Inquirer site 5/8/13] Swarmageddon: Rise of ‘Brood II’ cicadas (link)

[NPR story of 4/1/13] It’s Almost Cicada Time! Help Radiolab Track #Swarmageddon (link)

[Yummy Math site, for kids] Cicada swarmaggedon: Most of the life cycle of the Magicicada Septendecim is spent underground. Then at 17 year intervals, these cicadas emerge from the ground, climb deciduous trees, molt into adults, mate, lay eggs, and die. (link)

(Note the common misspelling of Armageddon, as Armaggedon, in the third one. The writer knows there’s a double consonant in there — but where?)

Then came shawarmageddon, a “dinner in a bottle” from the MeatWater site. The product:


And the preposterous copy:

Chicken shawarma, tabboulleh (cardamom): Shawarma: Meat Stack of the Muslim World! Muslims invented advanced mathematics, suicide bombs and shawarma! Advanced Mathematics = Geometry = Conical Structures = Shawarma, the upside-down cone of meat strips that is grilled on all sides and shaved into a pita. Suicide Bombs = Nihilistic Worldview = Hatred of All Living Things = “Let’s roast that stupid camel” = Shawarma! At MeatWater, our SHAWARMAGEDDON flavor is made with chicken instead of camel but we put all our resentment of modernity and misanthropy into a survival beverage that will fuel your rage right down the throat of the Great Satan! When it’s time for Jihad, it’s time for SHWARMAGEDDON!

Hard to take this seriously.

On to shawarma (sometimes spelled shwarma). From Wikipedia:

Shawarma  … is a Levantine Arab meat preparation, where lamb, chicken, turkey, beef, veal, or mixed meats are placed on a spit (commonly a vertical spit in restaurants), and may be grilled for as long as a day. Shavings are cut off the block of meat for serving, and the remainder of the block of meat is kept heated on the rotating spit. Although it can be served in shavings on a plate (generally with accompaniments), shawarma also refers to a sandwich or wrap made with shawarma meat. Shawarma is eaten with tabbouleh, fattoush, taboon bread, tomato, and cucumber. Toppings include tahini, hummus, pickled turnips and amba. It is now a fast-food staple worldwide.

The preparation:


And a (lamb) shawarma sandwich:


I first came across shawarma as an Israeli street food sold in shops in American cities. It’s first cousin to kebabs (which are often sold in pita sandwiches), for instance the Turkish döner kebab (discussed here), and the Greek gyro(s) (also often sold in pita sandwiches). My local Israeli restaurant (Oren’s Hummus Shop on University Avenue in Palo Alto) offers beef/lamb kebabs, in pita or on their own, but not classic shawarma.

So much for food. Now back to -mageddon. Previous appearances on this blog:

12/22/08 “Portmansnow words“: snowmageddon

2/18/11 “Dingburg portmanteau”: Carmageddon

7/14/11 “For the Angelenos”: carmageddon, karmageddon, courtmageddon

7/19/11 “More -((m)a)geddon”debtageddon, debtmageddon (plus armadebtdon, gaymageddon, goremageddon)

8/10/11 “-mageddons and -pocalypses”: Obamageddon, heatmageddon, birdmageddon, wordmageddon (with a link to Mark Peters)

5/11/12 “A topical -mageddon”: gaymageddon (with links to other blogs)

-((m)a)geddon is clearly working its way to becoming a libfix.

2 Responses to “On the -mageddon watch”

  1. More swarmanteaus | Arnold Zwicky's Blog Says:

    […] a recent posting, I noted the portmanteau — or, possibly, use of a libfix -mageddon — in swarmageddon, […]

  2. arnold zwicky Says:

    On Facebook, on shawarma:
    Patrick Taylor https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HClSKVktvjE

    Unidentified Shopping Object from “Lost In Space” | AMERICAN DAD | ANIMATION on FOX

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