Steely Dan’s “Deacon Blues”

Evan Puschak, who you may remember made ‘How Donald Trump answers a question‘, made this video about the complex and sublime Steely Dan song “Deacon Blues”. Interesting even if you don’t like Steely Dan or aren’t a musician.

Reminiscent of Hrishikesh Hirway’s Song Exploder. Here’s my favourite SE episode, deconstructing MGMT’s “Time To Pretend”. Having listened to the podcast, I can’t unhear the “Dancing Queen” references:

How Donald Trump answers a question

Evan Puschak, aka the Nerdwriter, breaks down a single Trump answer:

Pushak demonstrates Trump’s user-friendly approach to answering interviewer questions. He talks at a 4th grade level, he uses simple sentences, he addresses listeners in the second person and uses commands. He does everything an inclusive writer should do. Rather than dumbing down, it’s hardly a stretch to say that what he does is straight out of the GDS guide. I’m half-tempted to file this entry under ‘UX’.

And the rhetoric element of his answers? He goes out of his way to end a sentence with a strong point, even if it means an awkward start. It’s powerful and memorable.

The content of his answers is another matter, of course.

The important distinction: Trump isn’t smart, he’s a salesperson. He’s unlikely to be doing this deliberately, thinking in real-time. It’s probably highly internalised behaviour, absorbed over years of experience. But it’s working.