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Uptown Norfolk

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NZO7ADSwXAc&w=525&h=300]

This is a super-joyful video. This social media post by the Norfolk (Va.) Police Department explains it all:

YOUR WAIT IS OVER!!!! The Norfolk Police Department was challenged by the Corinth Police Department, Texas to a #lipsync battle and we gladly accepted. As you can see we all had a great time filming the video, which we have to point out was done in #onetake! #NorfolkPD is challenging Seattle Police Department, Norfolk Constabulary, Virginia Beach Police Department, and Saint Louis Metropolitan Police Department.

Thanks for watching!!!!

The Norfolk PD won the Internet! You GOTTA watch it! It will make you happy. Everybody needs some happy.

Jimmy Fallon has to have some of these folks on, with Bruno Mars. The universe demands it!

After waking up this morning to news of the Thai soccer team’s total rescue, I didn’t think I had any more capacity for joy on a single day. Wrong!

UPDATE: Reader Zapollo:

I watched that video tonight. A few thoughts.

1. My first reaction was the same as everybody else’s: “Wow, that’s delightful!” My second reaction was to think of how cool it would be if my place of business did something like this.

My third reaction was the realization that the place I work — a private business that is part of a large, nationwide corporation — would never, ever do something like this. I can just imagine the bean-counters at corporate HQ watching our video going, “fire that guy, fire that guy, fire that woman, fire him, fire that dude and cut department funding in half for his replacement…”

2. Which leads to my second thought: I don’t know what the situation is in Norfolk, but in the place I live, our local law enforcement and fire department agencies are constantly under fire for their spending. Most of the attacks are unjustified, in my opinion, but a lot of it can be laid at the feet of a few high-profile decisions by politically tone-deaf administrators.

Point is, if our local law enforcement did something like this, I imagine it would erupt into a huge scandal. Ambitious politicians would be playing this on a loop shouting, “they used YOUR MONEY to make a RAP VIDEO!”

And indeed, speaking as a Republican, there is something about this that raises the hackles in my tiny, stone-cold miser’s heart: “Look, public employees wasting my money again.”

3. On the other hand, I have loved ones in law enforcement, and it is a categorically different job — something which those of us outside of the profession often fail to appreciate. And while part of me fusses about spending, there’s another part of me that see this little as a wonderful development. I know the morale of the folks I know in law enforcement hit rock-bottom during Obama’s presidency; seeing this is like a breath of fresh air. Squint a bit and it almost plays like a Trump campaign commercial; you can just see Trump sitting there in the White House watching this and going on about how our fine, fine policemen and firefighters — those brave and wonderful people, the best in the world — how this just shows how they’ve regained their confidence, and it’s all thanks to my administration, etc., etc…

And you know his fans would eat it up. It’s also possible that this — the fact that people whose livelihood depends on the taxpayers are comfortable enough to make a video like this — says something about the relative health of the American economy under Trump.

4. All this led me to a related thought about business in general, and maybe a larger insight about capitalism, free markets, the global economy and the Benedict Option. Keep in mind that I’m just writing off the top of my head here, so it’s all disorganized. Rod would be much better equipped to synthesize all this.

Remember my first point about how my place of employment would never, ever do something like this? When I thought about it some more, I realized that there are businesses I could imagine doing something like this. And the thing is, they all tend to follow the same model: They are all local or regional businesses whose owners are very hands-on and tend to see their employees as family. In turn, most of their employees tend to be fiercely, even frighteningly loyal. I can definitely see one of those businesses saying, “hey, let’s take an entire workday to make a music video!” Think of Levy Pants under Gus Levy’s late father in “A Confederacy of Dunces.”

Crucially, none of these businesses are operated by faceless corporations. And it’s striking how the relationship between the boss and his (it’s usually a guy) workers is less like the relationship between a manager and an employee and more like that of a feudal lord and his serfs. The boss, while obviously much richer than his workers, takes great care to mingle with his subordinates and tends to handsomely reward the ones who are most loyal. Furthermore, the boss tends to dip into his own considerable wealth to hand out rewards, a form of compensation which does not show up in the business’s books but helps to build solidarity and even love among his staff. And the love flows downward, too: bosses in these types of companies tend to be noticeably emotional people who often feel a personal attachment to their employees.

The similarity of this to the old mead-hall patriarchal feudalism of Beowulf, and how the people who work at these companies tend to be the happiest people I know, makes me wonder if there is something about this sort of arrangement that is rooted in human nature, and if the loss of this kind of intensely personal employment relationship in the global marketplace is one of the reasons for the rising tide of populism and nationalism.

It’s perhaps noteworthy that Trump appears to run his businesses in this fashion, and seems to have carried this sensibility into his administration. Maybe feudalism never really went away; it simply adopted a new form, one which retained the old ways, which are essential to human flourishing, while finding a way to interface with the new, rationalized system of capitalist finance. Maybe this is something fundamental about human nature that is not accounted for in elegant financial models. And maybe this hungering for community says something about the Benedict Option.

Whew! That was a lot to get out of one little video. ?

about the author

Rod Dreher is a senior editor at The American Conservative. He has written and edited for the New York Post, The Dallas Morning News, National Review, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, the Washington Times, and the Baton Rouge Advocate. Rod’s commentary has been published in The Wall Street Journal, Commentary, the Weekly Standard, Beliefnet, and Real Simple, among other publications, and he has appeared on NPR, ABC News, CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, and the BBC. He lives in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, with his wife Julie and their three children. He has also written four books, The Little Way of Ruthie Leming, Crunchy Cons, How Dante Can Save Your Life, and The Benedict Option.

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