I ‘Ruin’ My Expensive Stuff

And So Should You.

“I got a new iPhone.”
“Omg, me too!”
“Omg, show me!”
“Omg, here!”
“Wow, yours is so nice, Lucky!”
“Shut up, I love yours.”

What is this, a popularity contest or something?

Why yes, Mr. Steven-Lewis, it is. Alike with everything, popularity is the prop from which we view the world. Well, I got tired of that and I’ll tell you why.

People writhe in pain when they see my Ray-Bans. Don’t ask me why, because I think they’re the coolest thing since internet videos. There’s something innately wrong with this culture we live in when more emphasis is placed on the product than what that product produces. I see it all the time in photography and filmmaking. People think they’re going to get a profound result because they spent $5000 on a Mrkiii and Canon L lens:

News Flash: you’re not.

The talent doesn’t lie in the equipment, it’s sparked in the mind. Sure, you’re more likely to get an aesthetically pleasing film with the aforementioned gear, but if the story is flat, your full-framed bokeh means shit.

When your preeminence lies in the name brand, you lose your own identity. And content without an identity is a soulless body, drifting through the far reaches of giga-space.


Taking the stress off the brand frees you from it’s bureaucratic power. When you have nothing to live up to except yourself, you find your voice. There’s no corporate mark on your art, only the fingerprints of your intellectual property. Defacing the logo releases you from the status quo, allowing the wingspan of ingenuity to glide you over the proverbial mountains.

I don’t do it because it’s cool. I don’t do it for marketing purposes — or lack-there-of. I do it because, I am not Apple. I am not Ray-Ban. They simply create the tools that allow me live within the existence that is my own, and while I’m grateful for everything they afford me, I don’t need to be a walking advertisement. There’s nothing individual about that. In a world where everyone has the same phone and sunglasses, I dare to be different.

I destroy to create. I create to live. Therefore, destruction=life.

When you live for a product, you drain the oil from your engine; there’s nothing to keep the gears turning. Think about it, Apple created themselves by separating themselves; they destroyed the conception of marketing, and built their image within the giant crater they engineered. Now it’s your turn to be influenced in the right way, not by being a sheep to pasture, but by seeing what the pasture offers and creating your own movement. That’s where the power lies.

Well, why don’t you just buy sunglasses that are NOT Ray-Bans and save yourself the pretentious rant?

First of all, I’ll let it be known that I have never paid for a pair of Ray-Bans in my entire life: I just happen to get very lucky finding them. This is New York City; people lose shit all the time. The fact is, despite the branding, these products are superior. I don’t buy a MacBook Pro with the sole intent of buying it; I do it because I’m comfortable using the OS, it lasts an inordinate amount of time, and quite frankly, it’s the best at what it does. Period. That doesn’t mean every time I flip the screen up I want to brag about it. I hate that. Every café patron with their cookie-cutter 13" Aluminum frames adorning an illuminated Malus. That doesn’t mean you’re doing it wrong or are unoriginal because you choose to rock your stock equipment; I understand that everyone isn’t like me. All I’m saying is, personality and creativity come from rejecting the association between a specific product and myself. I don’t dispute the quality of these products, I simply reject the associated lifestyle. I am my own lifestyle, not one chosen in a room of people tracking social trends.


How can you do the same thing?

Look inward. Find your expression. Express it.
Allow yourself to be inspired.
Never apologize for who you are.
Let go of monetary value and see the value in yourself.
Trust your instincts.
Buy/Steal/Borrow these, or any other oil-based marker and mark things. Everything.
Be more afraid of being the same than standing out.

Cody S.L. Calderon//2016

read my last article about the universe and how it forced me to get a giant owl tattoo on my ribs, here.