Dave, thanks for the reference (here's the paper, by the way). Interestingly, one of my main points was kind of the opposite: A lot of theory looks at "map" from a user perspective, including napkin scribblings (the focus of much of Denis Wood and Mark Denil's recent back-and-forth in Cartographic Perspectives), Marshall Island stick-charts, etc etc. All in part a reaction to mid-20th century and earlier "Those aren't real maps" snobbery by the cartographic establishment.
People will argue over "purist" this or "tradition" that, but I think what it really boils down to in a number of instances is being "right" and trying to force one's "right-ness" on the rest of those around them. Rather than meeting people where they are at and trying to learn from those individuals as well, it's about "evangelism"....only with a touch of grace and style reminiscent of the Crusades.
It's not about trying to be accepted by "the establishment" though. It's all-about turning over tables in the Temple...or tacking your 95 Theses to the church door at Wittenberg when one smells stale air or condescension about. The vast majority of people around the NACIS conference have been AWESOME the past few years! The "snobby" minority though is a serious buzz-kill for the rest of us, in my opinion.
As for Dave's suggestion of a PCD workshop, Valerie Krejcie suggested the exact same thing during an impromptu conversation following a session in St. Louis this year. I'd LOVE to be a fly on that wall when it came time for Q&A! I'm not sure I'd be the best choice for offering that type of session though, since I'm not very good at sugar-coating exactly what I am thinking/feeling at any given time. Nat got to do a little of that "shaking things up" in St. Louis though, along with Steven (Holloway), which was HIGHLY engaging and entertaining to watch. I wish the Q&A after Nat's paper would have been about 60-75 minutes, as it would have been really fun/interesting to see where the discussion might have gone. Nat's paper was honestly the highlight of the programmatic portion of the conference for me this year...along with Roger Smith's presentation related to their variation and enhancement upon "Google Earth" that he has been building in New Zealand.