If I ran the Louvre


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 crossing them?

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.


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