Paul Greenberg

For an actor, the talented Morgan Freeman doesn't have the best sense of timing. At least when off-camera and talking politics. There's a lot of that going around. It figures. A presidential election approaches and folks are heating up.

For example, Mr. Freeman chose the eve of the GOP's straw poll in Florida to describe both the tea party and Republicans in general as racists. Mr. Freeman was particularly vociferous on the subject of those terrible Republicans who were always putting party above country. The only thing they're really interested in, he explained, was denying Barack Obama a second term in the White House. Or, as the talented Mr. Freeman put it, the Republicans' general attitude is: "Screw the country. We're going to do whatever we (need to do) to get this black man out of here."

Whereupon, the next day, the results of Florida's straw poll were announced, and, sure enough, which presidential candidate did those awful Republicans and tea party racists endorse, and by an overwhelming margin at that?

You guessed it: Herman Cain, who, as the current phraseology has it, happens to be black. (You can tell by the way he sings gospel.)

Stars of stage, screen and Democratic politics like Morgan Freeman and Alec Baldwin sound so much better when they let others write their lines. Rather than expose their prejudices. They can be so intelligent when following a well-written script. But left to their own clumsy devices off camera, they can say some fairly idiotic things. Sometimes that's not clear for a while. In this case, it was clear within 24 hours.

Just the other day, Mr. Baldwin was bashing Ronald Reagan as a "failed actor." If only the Republicans could find as great a failure to nominate as their next presidential candidate.

Au revoir and bonjour, Marianne! According to dispatches, the mayor of Neuville-en-Ferraine has revealed that a bust of Marianne, the emblem of the French Revolution, has been toppled because authorities there decided it was, well, too busty.

Apparently, every town hall and courthouse in France gets to choose its own version of Mlle. Marianne, often cast in the likeness of a media star of the moment. This new version resembles fashion model Laetitia Casta, who's a favorite of L'Oreal, Chanel and Dior ads, Victoria's Secret catalogue covers, and the like. In France, fashion still trumps all. And since fashion changes regularly, so do Mariannes.


Paul Greenberg

Pulitzer Prize-winning Paul Greenberg, one of the most respected and honored commentators in America, is the editorial page editor of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.