- The American Conservative - https://www.theamericanconservative.com -

Uptown Norfolk

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.

change_me

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. ?

31 Comments (Open | Close)

31 Comments To "Uptown Norfolk"

#1 Comment By Gracie On July 10, 2018 @ 5:04 pm

This Virginian is proud of Norfolk (pronounced Nawfuk, if you’re really from here) PD. Rock on with your bad selves!

#2 Comment By Elijah On July 10, 2018 @ 5:24 pm

Ha ha! Made my day.

#3 Comment By VikingLS On July 10, 2018 @ 5:52 pm

[1] Check this out. Amazing video with the same song that perfectly incorporates dance sequences from movie musicals from the early 30s up until the 50s. Seriously check it out, it’s incredible.

#4 Comment By Richard Parker On July 10, 2018 @ 6:51 pm

We are all Thai’s today! Thank God for his mercy.

#5 Comment By MishMom On July 10, 2018 @ 6:59 pm

Brought a big smile to my face and my kids’ faces – especially that unexpected appearance by a little baby in the officer’s arms near the end!

#6 Comment By Dennis On July 10, 2018 @ 7:27 pm

I know it’s weird because Bruno Mars is the featured singer, but the song credit is Mark Ronson’s instead.

#7 Comment By mrscracker On July 10, 2018 @ 8:16 pm

Really enjoyed this video!
Thank you so much for sharing it.
I’ve been praying for those boys in Thailand. Praise God!
🙂

#8 Comment By Moderate Mom On July 10, 2018 @ 8:31 pm

Really cute and the officer lip syncing the Bruno Mars lead is a total hottie.

#9 Comment By James C. On July 10, 2018 @ 8:55 pm

Oh my gosh, I MUST see a lip-sync battle between Norfolk PD and Norfolk Constabulary!

#10 Comment By Pogonip On July 10, 2018 @ 9:19 pm

?????

Made me want to dance! Which I can’t do any more but I did clap along with the officers, firemen, and other personnel.

#11 Comment By Yahtzee On July 10, 2018 @ 10:21 pm

You should see what most of my leftist friends are posting about this on social media. It is not quite as… enthusiastic.

#12 Comment By Turmarion On July 10, 2018 @ 10:23 pm

Loved this!

#13 Comment By AverageJo8777 On July 11, 2018 @ 2:20 am

The Norfolk Police Department totally ROCKS!!! Thank you for making me smile!

#14 Comment By Zapollo On July 11, 2018 @ 5:43 am

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. 😉

#15 Comment By Pogonip On July 11, 2018 @ 5:54 am

Hi Yahtzee,

What are they saying? Just curious.

#16 Comment By Sherri Edman On July 11, 2018 @ 7:07 am

MishMom, same here. “The baby!” we squealed. Also the traffic cone trumpets were brilliant.

Thanks for posting.

#17 Comment By Phillip On July 11, 2018 @ 7:38 am

Loved it!

And no cuts either.

#18 Comment By Flavia On July 11, 2018 @ 9:43 am

Viking! That’s now one of my all time favorite videos. Makes me happy! Gone viral in my family. What an incredible job of editing. I nearly screamed when the guys did the splits!
[2]

#19 Comment By Tony D. On July 11, 2018 @ 10:50 am

My favorite bit is near the end; the big dude just leaning, expressionless and motionless, against the fire truck. Cracked me right up.

#20 Comment By Jasper On July 11, 2018 @ 11:17 am

Loved the video. Brings me back to the time that this blog featured a lot more humor, before all the heavy stuff as of late. I remember, in particular, video clips leading up to the LSU-Alabama game.

Please, sprinkle in more humor to get our minds off of the gloom and doom.

Jasper

#21 Comment By Blaine On July 11, 2018 @ 11:41 am

I’m sorry, but about three years ago the midshipmen at the Naval Academy did this the best – I give you Naptown Funk

[3]

Maybe I’m biased, but USNA ’04. Beat Army!

#22 Comment By Beowulf On July 11, 2018 @ 12:12 pm

Not bad, but Lord Voldemort did it better

#23 Comment By yahtzee On July 11, 2018 @ 12:14 pm

Hi Yahtzee,
What are they saying? Just curious.

100% of the reaction is (paraphrasing): “What they’re doing instead of answering 911 calls,” “Right before collaborating on a civilian murder project,” “A fun rendition of a Bruno Mars song from people who would murder Bruno Mars at a traffic stop,” “Aww, they think they’re people.” People posted pics of current crimes in the cops’ district and are angry that this is what they’re spending their time doing.

I hate to be a wet blanket, but it reminds me of what Rod is always saying about whimsical Christians, and how trying to be liked by the mainstream culture is not going to work. Cops trying to get likes from social media is a poorly thought out social strategy. It’s not going to appease the increasing number of young people on social media who are inching towards an “abolish the police” plank on their socialist platform, and it makes the police look a) not very serious and b) like they crave the approval of people who hate them and will just mock their attempt to seem fun and whimsical.

How about recording yourself walking the beat? Talking to grownups in the neighborhood? Talking to small business owners? Being both a part of the community AND being respectable cops? Not trolling for likes in a social media game that you’re not going to win.

#24 Comment By Pogonip On July 11, 2018 @ 1:02 pm

Hi Yahtzee,

Ah, liberalism: the gnawing fear that some white guy, somewhere, is having fun and not feeling guilty. And a lot of these people aren’t even white!

#25 Comment By Elijah On July 11, 2018 @ 1:30 pm

@ Zapollo – great comments. I think, on the whole, that the only objections to these kinds of fun ‘pranks’ will come from useless little scolds who have nothing better to do than tell everyone else what to think and how to live.

Like Yahtzee. I expect Liz Warren to post any minute now.

#26 Comment By Bill Peschel On July 11, 2018 @ 1:51 pm

I also liked this one, if you’re into dancing vids.

[youtube [4]

#27 Comment By genotypical On July 11, 2018 @ 2:42 pm

Well, I’m what most here would call a liberal, and I thought it was fantastic! Though for those of us in science, it still can’t challenge the immortal “Bad Project” lipsync ( [5]).

#28 Comment By VKI On July 11, 2018 @ 4:39 pm

My son’s dance school has done several of these videos. They don’t take a whole work day to do. The people with major parts work on them ahead of time at home. Everybody else gets told a general idea of what to do, like “Dance along in the hall.” For a five-minute video, most people wouldn’t spend even an hour on this. Anybody who couldn’t be spared for that hour wouldn’t be in the video.

And most people find it charming and approachable. My kid’s school got some tv offers out of their videos because it made the kids and their teachers look like people you could enjoy working with. Not a bad look for public servants.

There’s always someone saying they should have made a video of walking the beat and talking to small business owners and grownups in the community, but not even people who think Davey and Goliath was some top-notch entertainment can stand watching a “Your Pal, the Policeman” film. Not effective for public relations purposes.

#29 Comment By Doctor Weasel On July 11, 2018 @ 10:11 pm

A video like this humanizes police officers, which is an important part of community relations. There are those those who might be inclined to see cops as a problem, but who haven’t gone over the edge of insane hatred yet. Or folks who are irritated about their latest traffic ticket. A fun project like this reminds them that cops are just people like themselves.

#30 Comment By artsandcrafts On July 11, 2018 @ 11:29 pm

From someone not inclined to gush about the police, this video was outstanding! Even more fun than the Juan Lafonta/”Thanks, Dan!” thread. Congratulations to the Norfolk Police Department, especially since they said they did it all in one take. I did watch several others online, since I’ve never heard of this challenge, but I thought the Norfolk one was by far the best. Unlike some others, I thought the officer holding the baby was one detail too many. I thought the policemen with the traffic-cone horns were perfect, though. James C.–my reaction too. Who knew Norfolk or anywhere else in the U.S. had a constabulary?

#31 Comment By La Lubu On July 14, 2018 @ 1:11 pm

Re: Zapollo’s comment on feudalism:

There’s something much, much better than patriarchal feudalism for fostering that ‘familial’ feeling at work: labor unions! At least, that’s how it works in trade unions, where the nature of our work (and traveling) fosters those deep relationships. It’s not the capricious favoritism of a “boss”, but the real brotherhood (and sisterhood!) amongst equals.

Perhaps yet another reason conservatives need to rethink their animosity towards unions.