Say what?!Say what?!

‘Lapidomator’ is a Web sensation

Spoof website automatically generates Facebook updates from Finance Minister Yair Lapid

Stuart Winer is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

Finance Minister Yair Lapid in Jerusalem, July 15, 2013 (photo credit: Miriam Alster/Flash90)
Finance Minister Yair Lapid in Jerusalem, July 15, 2013 (photo credit: Miriam Alster/Flash90)

Finance Minister Yair Lapid is known for embracing the Internet as a way of connecting with the people. He’s also been known to wax sappy on occasion. A new craze sweeping the country, the Lapidomator, capitalizes on both aspects of his online persona, generating endless spoof Facebook quotes that seem vaguely profound at first and increasingly nonsensical upon further perusal — just as if they had been posted by the journalist-turned-cabinet minister himself.

Ever since he began his foray into politics Lapid has demonstrated a penchant for incessant Facebook updates that often came at the expense of traditional statements to the press. However, quantity is no guarantee of quality, and though at first hailed by some as a brave example of a “new politics,” over time Lapid’s updates were increasingly lampooned for their lack of any real substance.

Enter Internet whizzes Yoni Rozenshein, Saba Nahman, Asaf Sagi, and Lihi Karni, who took matters into their own hands and created the Lapidomator (Hebrew), a brilliant satirical device that allows users to enter any word or short phrase and generate a Lapid “statement,” 100 percent on message and utterly vague; just like the original, they said.

“We noticed that the Yesh Atid party spends a lot of time on Facebook instead of engaging in parliamentary activities,” Rozenshein told Hebrew media. “In addition, their posts don’t say anything. They’re full of beautiful text and very little substance. A bit like Yair Lapid.”

The website draws on dozens of real Facebook updates gathered from Lapid’s Facebook page and cleverly replaces the subjects of the original posts with those entered by users. Examples range far and wide, including shoulder hair, Pearl Jam, the legalization of marijuana, gay pride, the price of socks, and Knesset orgies.

“We decided to cut short the waiting time for new posts from Yair Lapid and built a website that generates them by itself,” Rozenshein said.

While the results are often bland or utter gibberish, occasionally the website spits out a comical response. All of the results are displayed on the site, with the most popular, based on user votes, put on prominent display.

One cheeky user even entered the phrase “Yair Lapid,” producing the following eyebrow-raising text:

“Let’s talk about Yair Lapid. We need to deal with Yair Lapid. Dealing with Yair Lapid isn’t pleasant. I don’t deny it. I believe we should be living in a society where Yair Lapid is important. I recognize that there are other opinions among the public, but those points of view lost in the elections… Yair Lapid is in catastrophic straits. He threatens our very existence.”

Lapid himself acknowledged the Lapidomator in a number of, um, Facebook posts. At one point the administrator of his page wrote in a comment, “Man, this Lapidometer [sic] is awesome. You have no idea how many times I’ve already gone to the website and tried it.”

One commenter corrected the mistake-prone Lapid, writing just “Lapidomator,” while another wrote, “Yair, can you tell the difference between laughing with you and laughing at you?” In another recent post on the national deficit, Lapid signed off with “This post wasn’t written with the Lapidometer [sic].”

The website quickly gained immense popularity, with dozens of visitors trying their hands at getting a humorous response every minute. It was apparently too much for the site’s servers to handle: The site was down as of Thursday afternoon.

read more: