Malcolm Rogers, the Director of Boston's Museum of Fine Arts, recently fired eighteen ranking staff members in what was described as a reorganization of the museum but was universally understood to be a purge. The fired employees were given ten minutes to clean out their desks and vacate the premises, corporation-style. Under pressure from the "Ladies Committee," a group of trustees' wives representing the museum's Brahmin financial base, Rogers last week re-hired the two most popular of the purgees. Behind this dispute are two factors, Rogers' desire to make the museum more popular (read "accessible" or "opportunistic" depending on your point of view), and his apparent inability to work with independent-minded or autonomous people.

"Duck tours" show tourists around the city of Boston in reconditioned military amphibious vehicles.

The real inspiration for this cartoon, however, was a story from Boston's North End. The North End is currently in the process of changing from a neighborhood of Italian families into a gentrified shopping mall with condos. So last week, when members of the Pepicelli and Stivatella families had a shootout in the North End which left one person dead, tourists in the vicinity of the shooting assumed they were witnessing a reenactment of some sort of legendary neighborhood bloodletting.

View the September 4, 1999 cartoon.

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