Why One-Star Reviewers Are Living One-Star Lives

Your creative energy is worth more

Photo by Ayo Ogunseinde on Unsplash

Always remember: creation would exist without criticism, but criticism would not exist without creation.

Criticism is second-class, stale energy. Creativity is the higher good.

I wrote last year about one of my favorite comedic pastimes: reading one-star reviews of things that are almost universally beloved. This could be:

  • national parks
  • great works of literature
  • beloved landmarks

These places and behemoths in the artistic landscape often have tens, if not hundreds of thousands of five-star reviews. Does that stop walnut-brained jabroons from thinking that their one-star review is going to matter? No, it does not. They press on.

These are a few of my favorites from last year:

1) The Golden Gate Bridge (56,000+ reviews, 4.8 stars on Google):

Author Screenshot from review

This man has seen bridges. Many, many bridges. He’s crossed bodies of water, lava, and hot soup, all on bridges. And when confronted with arguably the world’s most famous bridge? He wasn’t impressed!

2) The Eiffel Tower (285,000+ reviews, 4.6 stars on Google):

Author screenshot from review

Going to Paris? Don’t bother with the most famous thing there. Don’t go to the surrounding park and eat wine and cheese. Don’t lay out in the sun with your new Parisian friends. It’s all a sham!

3) The Statue of Liberty (82,000+ reviews, 4.7 stars on Google):

Author screenshot from review

The indignity of standing! The horror! I would sooner drown myself off the starboard bow than go through your tour again, brigands! Next time notify me before you move the boat that I paid to be on! I LIKE MY BOATS STATIONERY THANK YOU VERY MUCH!

The one-star life is not the life we crave

I love reading these. They make me giggle. I love imagining a suburban father, reading through these reviews and shouting to his wife “honey, Jim Schmuckstein from New Jersey says that the Golden Gate Bridge is just too damn long! Dissolve the San Fran tickets in acid, we’re going to Disneyland again!

How do you wrap your head around this?! I can’t imagine going to Paris, seeing one of the most iconic works of architecture in human history, going “meh,” then hopping on my phone and writing a one-star review undeterred by the fact that two hundred and eighty-five thousand people have reviewed it already!

Do you know why? Because my opinion of the Eiffel Tower is not that important. And that’s ok! I’m comfortable with the fact that I’ve seen the Eiffel Tower, and that the only people who will hear about are my friends and loved ones, in my stories.

The sad truth of one-star review writers

After I was done chuckling at the Statue of Liberty review, I clicked on the writer’s profile. As I suspected, the guy is just out in the world, sprinkling one-star reviews on everything like some sort of perpetually disappointed fairy (and capitalizing every word for reasons I cannot fathom).

He’s not having one-star experiences. He’s living a one-star life.

If you’re like that man, flouncing around, disappointed in everything that happens, then your perception of the world is off. The world is just doing what the world does, and you’re choosing to continue being disappointed.

My grandpa once told me:

If every room you enter is full of nothing but assholes, there’s a good chance you’re the asshole.

How insane is modern review culture? I can review anything I want. Anything. Do you know what I’m totally unqualified to review? MOST THINGS.

Whenever I have a “bad” experience at a restaurant (something that’s horrendously tame compared to what half the world population deals with on a daily basis) I don’t leave a review. I just don’t go to that restaurant again.

When I do leave reviews, which is rare, I only leave five stars. There are enough screaming lunatics out there having bad times and bullying small businesses.

The next time you’re mildly inconvenienced by something that isn’t pure American comfort and convenience, don’t write a review at all! Create something!

Cook your own meal that’s better than the restaurant’s. Make your kitchen wall into a nature mural. Do something fun with macaroni.

Criticism is easy. Creation is hard.

Negativity is just noise, but creation? That takes talent and feeds the soul.

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Aaron Nichols

Aaron Nichols


Vagabond. Yoga teacher. Surfer. Here to laugh+inspire. Loving what you’ve read? join 2000+ others at The Well-Lived Life! https://thewelllivedlife.substack.com/