The Strange Beauty of Donald Shakestrump

In a feeble effort to fend off the hate mail, let me note this first: this post is not an endorsement of Donald Trump. But take heart, Team Trump: I don’t like any of the other candidates either. I consider myself fairly non-partisan in my disappointment with all presidential candidates.

But love him or hate him (and there appears to be very little in between), Donald Trump is never afraid to let his opinions be known. He does not mince words. Chainsaws them occasionally, but the guy does not mince.

This afternoon I got a message from Joshua Rosenberg about the work he was doing scraping Facebook to analyze presidential candidate interactions. I’m interested in scraping, and R, and Python, so I enjoyed reading his post. Then I saw he had the data files available on GitHub. Including all the scrapes.

I opened them and they were basic CSV files. Really big CSV files. The statuses were in one column. Skimming through it, I got an idea.

I saved the Trump file, edited it so I had just a text file with the status column, then headed over to the Internet Archive, where I downloaded an old MS-DOS program called Babble.

Babble is a program I enjoyed a lot when it first came out in 1991 (I know, I know, I’m old, get off my lawn.) It basically chops up text files and turns them into word salad. I unzipped it on an old XP rig I keep around to run DOS programs (as you do) and tried to feed it my giant text file of Donald Trump Facebook statuses.

A few things if you want to play along at home: a) if you want to run Babble on an XP machine, be sure to set the compatibility mode to Windows 95. b) I was only able to use part of my giant text file as Babble started complaining about its memory. c) The only way I could get the file to load was to save it with the program’s BAB extension.

Once you’ve loaded a file, Babble begins scrolling up a stream of — well, babble. It digested the Trump statuses and began pontificating. (Note: all the spelling and grammatical errors are surely Babble’s, and not Mr. Trump’s.) Some highlights:

If ObamaCare is in uniform in the worst football game played by everyone. Here’s some advice for Hollywood – another planet because if ObamaCare is this is appreciated by me your instincts. They are enrollment numbers!

Mildly amusing.

“To get libeled by everyone. Here’s some big proponent of merchant ships, to pen in mind – highest rated show clips”

Fun in an absurdist way, but missing something.

One of Babble’s features is that in addition to loading a single file, you can load multiple files and run them at the same time. Babble helpfully includes several blocks of sample texts — including Shakespeare.

I loaded the Shakespeare sample to run at the same time as the Donald Trump statuses. That’s when I discovered the strange beauty of Donald Shakestrump.

O, to sleep, bright angel for public speaking: Pay attention to put 76.2 million men in one team work. Whether ’tis nobler in my office to be, speak again, and think he bestrides the airy region stream so give it is persuasion more fair than power. Or to do great guy!

Now we’re cooking!

Keep your momentum. See yourself as just to be but sworn my GIRLFRIEND FROM HELL statement! Wherefore art as glorious to my love what if we call Trump and I’ll no one else can go hand in all the Olympics – who is Amateur Night –

But fools do there’s no one else can go hand, a group effort is my office to suffer the envious.

Man, I’ll say.

It is envious moon, developed the United States in WWE history!

Doesn’t Envious Moon currently hold the WWE Heavyweight Belt?

It’s not good! Arise, who can’t afford a breeder of the Academy – Really bad production. Bett Midler sucked! Learning to sleep.

I apologize to Bette Midler on behalf of Babble.

Wind energy is my lady.


So much more fair than power. Two of America has weak leaders. Peace Through Strength! Arise, won the Obama summarily change the world what you how she is what you have won the east, her plastic surgeon!

Be furious!

Like I said, no mincing.

And what may be my favorite Babble quote of all time:

The white upturned wondering eyes to overturn a winged messenger of New York City.

Try it for yourself! Joshua’s GitHub project has data files on several candidates, and if you have Babble and a machine to run it on you should be all set. If you get some particularly tasty word salad, tag me on Twitter (@ResearchBuzz).

Have fun, and remember:

Be not bliss. It’s costly. And it’s worth billions of Rockefeller Center.

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