I have no desire to defame the French. Ditto organized labor,
museum workers, palace minders or castle keepers anywhere on the
planet. But why the heck have the bulk of Paris' most popular
cultural institutions shut their doors just as the tourism season
starts heating up?
We're now in week two of a strike that has padlocked such
cultural cash cows as the Louvre and the Arc de Triomphe. Striking
workers want more hires and fewer temps. Not unreasonable on the
surface, but that's for them to work out.
What puzzles me is how this particular labor action has managed
to be so successful. While I'm sure that these picket lines are
attractively grouped and expertly dusted, didn't anybody think of
If I ran the Louvre (which, by the way, has a pleasant, Seussian
lilt to it) I'd call every bon ami I had, line them up and
say, "Ok, you take the francs, you dust the busts, you cut the
grass and you walk around with groups of Americans, point toward
anything you like and make up something about it." But I don't.