Seriously though, I guess the difference for me is that IMHO (please don't shoot me if I am over-OVER-simplifying things), GIS design is starting from DATA, X and Y, lat and long, etc....while bird's eye/oblique, on the other hand, is starting from visual stimuli such as oblique aerial photography or hundreds of ground-level photos and half a notebook full of hand sketches and notes. GIS starts with "science" and works its way towards "art," while bird's eye/oblique starts with "art" and works its way towards "science." If you want "art" (bird's eye/oblique), it's probably best to start from art and work your way back towards science (though SketchUp is challenging that assertion). If you want "science" (much more technically precise), best to start from "science" and work your way over towards art.
Interesting way of looking at it. You may be on to something there. I think it would interesting to see how you guys work.
I agree with you guys that there are plenty of bad examples of "cartoon" maps. There are also plenty of bad examples of any other type of map (including GIS maps - talk about blasphemy! lol). It's also true that there are counter-examples (very good maps in any of those categories - I know that's what we all strive for and encourage from others, in the form of appreciation when we find it and in the form of educating when we are able).
One of my all-time favorites (besides present company, of course ) in the cartoon style was Jo Mora, a fellow Californian who worked in the 1930's and '40's. I think of cartoon maps as a subset of pictorial maps. I also think oblique/bird's eye view maps are an overlapping category with pictorial maps. But that's about the terminology (jargon, even).