Most of my mid-2000s on the internet can be summarized with one website: Newgrounds. The admittedly not family-friendly site hosted lots of user-created media, but its star of the show was “Flash movies”: videos made with Macromedia Flash. I even have a flash movie of my own…before it was wiped off of the site for quality control. I deserved it.
“Crusing” from 2001 is reminiscent of those same flash movies, but it remains an e-lit piece solely because of the presentation. It has a very rough representation at that; the audio is tinny and overly loud, the textures are low-quality and the font used looks like some early Microsoft nonsense. But when you look past the production value (and the fact that it doesn’t even run on modern internet browser), you have a fairly interesting e-lit piece that is just as interesting to traverse through as it is annoying.
The annoying aspect comes from the fact that the entire thing is constantly scrolling, and even when you try to slow it down it only scrolls more. A poem is recited in the background, or perhaps it’s a spoken word piece. Either way, it describes the teenage obsession with “cruising” in a car back during those times.
Let me put it this way. Cruising is such a foreign term to me that I actually at one point looked up what those “No cruising” signs actually meant. The findings were admittedly tame; it just referred to the joyriding around town back when people weren’t bold enough to do it on the highways and gas was more affordable. But the fact that the poem is never stopping should be enough of an allegory that adds to Cruising’s story; it signifies the never-stopping feel that most teenagers probably felt at the time, the constant pace of a coming-of-age lifestyle that borders on self-destructive.
At least, I hope it was all of that. Otherwise I just breathed some fresh life into a piece of e-lit that is old enough to actually drive.
Still, there are some indicators that it fits. The setting is a never ending road, constantly looping back on you. The poem restarts itself once its finished, just in case you somehow missed something in the rather flat delivery of the woman speaking, presumably the author. Finally, the road seems to reflect the backdrop of a quiet suburb or town, and suddenly it makes a little more sense to me why the aspect of cruising seems so appealing to turn into an e-lit piece; it makes time in the town go by faster, and for a teen, sometimes you want to rush things.
While I can’t exactly give it any brownie points for its presentation today, it definitely holds up well enough to tell the story that it meant to tell, about teens in a small town area using cruising to enhance their coming of age memories together. I like driving but didn’t start until college; I’d imagine I’d feel a lot more where they were coming from if it were any earlier.