Thursday, December 30, 2021

historical statistic

Reading a comment about the shifting regional balance in United Nations membership in Paul Kennedy's The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers, which was published just too early to catch the end of the Cold War, I decided to quantify this. Here's 1946, which is when the existing countries that were going to join had signed up, vs. 1989.

NATO and other Western Europe (yes, I know NATO is an anachronistic term in 1946. You know what it means): 1946 22% (12), 1989 12% (19)
Communist bloc (no longer a bloc after the late '40s, but again you know what it means): 1946 11% (6), 1989 8% (13)
Middle East and North Africa: 1946 15% (8), 1989 15% (24)
East Asia and Oceania: 1946 11% (6), 1989 15% (24)
Sub-saharan Africa & islands: 1946 5% (3), 1989 29% (46)
Latin America and Caribbean: 1946 36% (20), 1989 20% (32)

Note the numerical domination of Latin American countries in 1946, which formed the bulk of the independent Third World at that point, and the subsequent bloom especially in Africa but also Asia.

Item 2: Sticking with Latin America, I watched the new Disney animated feature, Encanto, which is set in Colombia (not that all the reviewers noticed this). Reminded me of The Princess and the Frog in that it's proudly ethnic and intensely colorful, and unlike some other recent animated films (hello, Tangled, Kubo and the Two Strings, Incredibles 2), they spent enough money on writing to acquire a substantive plot.
So yes, the animation is absolutely fabulous, not just in color and imagination but in movement (it's a lot more energetic than Frog), the subtleties of characterization, and the embodiment of the voices. It's about a family of 12 people and they're all major characters; there's an expository lump in the form of a song at the start introducing them all but don't expect to keep up.
The plot, though, by animated film standards is weird and confusing, and kept knocking me off-balance. There's no villain, and such blame as there is shifts around unexpectedly and not always apparently intentionally. (At one point the heroine seems to be the one causing the problems, but that can't have been intended, surely?)

Item 3: Here is a selection of actors (mostly) talking about their movie roles (mostly). Most of them are more interested in talking about how they got the parts than their craft, and they have a persistent tendency to skip over the movies I've seen, but it's still interesting.

Item 4: I rarely browse the fanfiction archives, partly because the contents are so dismal, but I found this gem: a script for an imaginary crossover episode between Gilligan's Island and I Dream of Jeannie. It's both funny and, I thought, true to the spirit of both shows while occasionally making a daring move.

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