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“There are three things all wise men fear: the sea in storm, a night with no moon, and the anger of a gentle man.” - Patrick Rothfuss


An art critic reviews the art of Canterlot Castle.

He has... opinions. One of them is more concerning to Princess Celestia than the others.

Written for the A Thousand Words Contest II, where it took an Honorable Mention in the Comedy category!

Featured 6/15/2023 - 6/19/2023!

Appearing on Equestria Daily on 6/18/2023, as well as in their 25 of the Best Fanfics for Celestia Day on 6/20/2023!

Now with an audio reading by StraightToThePointStudio!

And another one by Pony & Wolf Productions!

Chapters (1)
Comments ( 45 )


Glorious. Completely and utterly glorious!

Things were tensely silent for a good minute before she finally shrugged. "To be honest, I don't get it either."

They almost had a bonding moment over Jument's Fountain, particularly when Noveau suggested Celestia move it to the bathroom. Almost.

This is brilliant and feels exactly like something I'd see in the show. The Warhol scene in particular.

"Riche, your Majesty,"

In my head, immediately:

“The Bouqueeeet residence, the lady of the house speaking! …no not Bucket. Bouquet. …it’s French.”

You may as well be hanging a mass produced Thomas Cantercade.

My Dad is actually a painter, a fairly successful one at that, and he has things to say about Thomas Kincaid. Mostly it amounts to “good for him”, Dad also being a practical sort who completely understands and empathizes with the desire for money. Kincaid didn’t sell out, he bought in.

The extra negative space will vastly improve the room's flow

Are we talking Feng Shui here, or is he just pointing out that it’s a huge statue in a too-small room? Because if it’s the latter he may have a point…

Things were tensely silent for a good minute before she finally shrugged. "To be honest, I don't get it either."

To be honest it reminds me of the Simpsons episode where they find out the painting hanging in their living room is an original for some famous painter and worth tons and tons of money…and then later find out that it’s a forgery and worth nothing. This despite the fact that, as the forger himself points out, nothing has actually changed about the painting.

Some guy in marketing designs a soup can label, he gets an hourly wage and you can buy the label, can, and soup inside for a buck. Andy Warhol paints it, suddenly it’s worth tens of thousands of dollars or more for just the image of the label, even though he’s literally just copying something that someone else made. And not even giving you soup.


This may surprise you since, well, me and Discord, but I genuinely love Discord here. From Riche’s reaction to his description to Discord showing up later and repaying the compliment. It feels pretty in character for the chaos god. Pre- or post-reformation, really. And it’s a nice little use of him.

Plus ultimately it fits Riche and Discord perfectly. Riche absolutely read the statue wrong. But Discord took the compliment anyway, ‘cause he’s vain like that.

lmao! The ending was hilarious!

He began with The Birth of Celestia. Painted four hundred years before by the diamond dog Barkicelli, it was arguably the most famous painting in Equestria - top five at worst.
"And it's overrated," came the sneered reply.

I kind of agree with Nouveau here. I've never understood why Barkicelli made Celestia's neck so long.

The critic motioned at the painting of a soup can.
"To be honest, I don't get it either."

That's because she has only one on display. The paintings work better as a set. (Though I doubt even Warhorsal would have considered them high art.)

Of course, why should anyone value the opinions of an art critic who puts his hooves on the art?

His smile should have been a tip-off that things were wrong. No pony had that many teeth.

0/10, no follow-up to this

Yeah, that'll teach you to call me out like that at the beginning. The nerve of this guy...


Kincaid didn’t sell out, he bought in.

ooh, I like that differentiation. I'll have to try to remember it.

Howdy, hi~!

As someone who is very knowledgeable about high art, accurate, though significantly less money laundering. Really nice and short comedy. Very enjoyable. Thanks for the read~!

"Mister Riche, I'm afraid that's all the time I have today. Please continue your review and submit it to Ms. Inkwell once you're finished."

And then once Inkwell hoofs over the review to Celestia, it'll immediately go into the fireplace.

Or be teleported into the heart of an active volcano--Celestia's still making up her mind about that. :trollestia:

Dat ending, tho! :rainbowlaugh:

Well, whatever motivation I had to enter Thousand Words II just evaporated.

I think this one will do very well. And I wish you the best of luck with the judges.

11611237 Re: Kincaid: he succeeded for the same reason Disney succeeded- turning out high-quality material (well, in animation anyway- let's not discuss early Disney live-action) aimed at the lowest common denominator.

Re: Simpsons-I'm reminded of when Burns thanked the Simpsons by giving them a giant Mayan or something sculpture that ended up in the living room between the couch and the TV, to the whole family's complete bafflement.

MARGE: What I'm saying is, whatever it does, it's doing it now.

Very Bugs Bunny at the end, Discord. :rainbowlaugh:

A work of art, this story is, Though, I think Mr. Riche would give it 4/5, snubbing one star for not having more screen time.

overdue #16 · June 16th · · 1 ·

"Shall we begin?" His smile should have been a tip-off that things were wrong. No pony had that many teeth.

he's AI generated?

11611608 Check his hooves. See how many thumbs he has.

The only art he likes and it's discord. Never expect that.


I'm impressed that you could write something in exactly 1000 words, that seems to require exactly 1000 words.

I also liked the "that many teeth" line. The scene with him loving Discord's statue was inspired--such a plausible reason! And the follow-on scene was also inspired.

I might quibble that, although everything Riche says sounds like something an art critic might say, you'd have a hard time finding a single art critic who would say more than two of those things. The first wants art to make a statement, I think in an iconic, medieval way; the next wants to integrate art into the public space (very mid-20th-century); the next speaks of "high art" (an extinct pre-Impressionist notion). The last, wanting symbolism, is something like the first, though most artists who use icons or symbols object to the metaphysics of novel chimeras such as Discord, as the scholastics said that a chimera had no essence, which implies (to most artists who rely on symbols to communicate meaning) that unconventional ones (the unicorn gets grandfathered in, I think) could serve no purpose in art.

But OTOH, if you used a set of criticisms that might be given by any one art critic, that would give the story a pointedness that you don't want: instead of ridiculing art critics in general (a worthy goal), it would have to ridicule one specific school of art criticism (an ignoble and unfair goal, since all of the living schools of art criticism are equally ridiculous and contemptible).

Oh, the name Nouveau Riche is funny, but it directs the ridicule at the nouveau riche, which is unjust. Not that I would change it; just pointing out that it has a downside as well as an upside.

The ending was perfect.

This was pretty funny, I enjoyed it, and the punchline lends itself quite well to the short format. I really like the art banter, I think the delivery was particularly precise and that's worth mentioning. The style is well regarded, and there's a sense of honest playfulness about this story that feels really at home in MLP. Good job!

Funny story is funny.

Georg #27 · June 17th · · ·

Thank goddess he didn't see the original of Celestia Among the Flowers.
(yes, it's a running gag)

I ship it. Richecord all the way.

Loved the ending.

Absolutely hilarious! I knew the punchline was coming, but Celestia's utter exhaustion at dealing with Nouveau (which is also a fantastic joke) and his opinions on debatably the most popular art to exist is great!


let's not discuss early Disney live-action

Well, being fair, Disney’s live-action Treasure Island is definitive to the entire genre of pirate movies. The whole “pirate accent” came from Roger Newton’s take on John Silver.

11612914 True, but the vast majority of early Disney live-action was, "Let's get nobodies and has-beens under contract for cheap, crap out whatever, and make it cheaply enough that we can't help but profit! And it doesn't matter how dumb the scripts are, because nobody ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American consumer!"

>when the judges of this contest judge the stories
Good story though, you delivered! :coolphoto:

For the sake of irony, the following comment was generated by AI, with instruction to be objective:

As a narrative, "Some Ponies Have No Taste" presents itself as a humorous take on the world of My Little Pony through the lens of criticism and art appreciation. While the premise is clever and engaging, the execution leaves much to be desired.

The characterization of the critic, Nouveau Riche, is inconsistent and lacks depth. At times, he comes across as pretentious and arrogant, while other moments showcase his genuine passion for art. This lack of cohesiveness detracts from the overall believability of the story. Additionally, the inclusion of Discord as a plot device feels forced and disjointed from the main narrative.

In terms of writing style, the author employs a conversational tone that is accessible and easy to read. However, the prose lacks polish and finesse, resulting in a somewhat amateurish feel. There is also a noticeable reliance on clichés and tropes, which diminishes the originality of the piece.

Overall, "Some Ponies Have No Taste" shows promise but falls short due to its uneven execution and lackluster writing.

Note: There was no cherry picking. This is the first response.
I think it's a pretty funny result.)

Which AI? I want it as my pre-reader.

I agree with some of what it says qualitatively, though quantitatively, I think it's miscalibrated for short stories, holding them to a standard meant for longer works. I squint at "lacks polish"; there may have been one or two grammatical errors or typos, but I think such a harsh verdict must be relying on some idiosyncratic, probably snobbish definition of "polish". "Reliance on cliches" might refer to what Riche says, which is supposed to be cliched. And "the inclusion of Discord feels forced" is as wrong as wrong can be.

But it's true that Nouveau Riche is sometimes pretentious, and yet at least once suggests a passion for art. That's damned impressive that it figured that out. I really don't understand how an LLM could do that. Most humans couldn't.

It's Noun-Hermes 13B specifically.
Yeah, I agree. It doesn't understand the concept of fanfiction, so it thinks that characters are not well defined.
But it can see everything at once, so it can notice what people can't.
Too bad token limit is at 2000. It barely fits into a prompt. Otherwise I would love to see what it would say about properly defined story.

That ending . :rainbowlaugh: 💀

It seems amusingly egotistical for Celestia to display "The Birth of Celestia" in her own palace. Though on reflection I can't see why one wouldn't keep such a piece in a place of honor. Few things could be more flattering.

Discord's reaction of course fits him perfectly.

Precise and well executed. :twilightsmile:

Discord is such a troll hehe


That's awesome! Thank you very much!

Thanks, but it was pony and wolf who did the reading

Celestia had little taste for critics in general. She understood the role demanded a certain level of negativity and over-analysis, but she had yet to meet one who was not infuriating.

ooh burn on all reviewers!

"It's wonderful to meet you, Mr. Rich," Celestia lied cheerfully.

aww She is so good at lying cheerfully!

The critic shook his head, immediately souring her attempt to put on a good face. "Riche, your Majesty," corrected the light gray stallion. "The Rich family are a different branch - cousins on my father's side." He bowed. "You may call me Nouveau."

starting off giving the most infuriating response to Celestia’s polite greeting as possible, love it!

He had no idea, of course, the cause of the renovations. But how could he? The number of ponies who knew that Luna would be returning soon could be counted on the primaries of one wing with feathers left over. (Everything was, of course, dependent on just what returned from the moon but Celestia was trying not to think about that. It would drive her mad if she did.)

hehe, always love the planning-ahead Celestia

Saying Nouveau hated everything was an overstatement. He had rather liked the drapes in the upper-east sitting room.

hehe, damning with faint praise

He began with The Birth of Celestia. Painted four hundred years before by the diamond dog Barkicelli, it was arguably the most famous painting in Equestria - top five at worst. A prime example of the Reineighsance, the image of Princess Celestia rising out of the sun with her wings spread wide charted the course of art for decades afterwards and remained influential even in the modern day.

ooh, sounds absolutely majestic! also great terrible puns, as usual

"And it's overrated," came the sneered reply. "Replicas of this painting are in every gallery from here to Vanhoover. Having it makes no statement, Your Highness. It has a place in history, but not in the Palace. You may as well be hanging a mass produced Thomas Cantercade."

so true, love this guy actually

"It's acceptable," deemed the critic as if he weren't speaking about the masterpiece of one of Equestria's greatest modern sculptors. "A bit common but not beyond saving. It should be… Hm. Approximately twenty percent smaller."

ah that twenty percent! and honestly, what is that phenomenon where the masterpieces of a field become so influential in it that they seem cliché and banal to those who grew up in a culture that had recycled them so many times? it makes a lot of sense that Canterlot Castle would be filled with such things!

The critic motioned at the painting of a soup can. "Anypony who considers this high art is a fool." He glanced to the Princess, waiting for an objection.

ok i don’t love this guy anymore

Things were tensely silent for a good minute before she finally shrugged. "To be honest, I don't get it either."

aww so true that is how She would react

Nouveau continued to rave. "Avant-garde doesn't even begin to cover this! It is truly a statement on the inherent nature of Equestria as an amalgamation of ideals, as well as a window into the nature of the pony mind! For truly as highly as we hold ourselves, at heart are we still not beasts with animal urges?"

so true bestie

With devilish glee, the Lord of Chaos threw the door wide and planted a deep kiss on the shocked stallion's lips.

"I think you're beautiful too," is all Discord said before cackling madly and teleporting away.

ahaha love it!

Ugh, I hate how the word counts in the chapter and on the story card don't always agree.

and that is part of the “fun” of the contest’s constraints! excellent work with this one. thank you for writing!

Delightful! Simple but very effective, both with excellent ribbing of art criticism and a great punchline. Not much else to say but thank you for it and congrats on the honorable mention.

Oh my gosh this was so much fun and that ending was perfect. n_n

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