Michael,

I don't think that there is anything in photography that is correct. And there isn't anything that is entirely wrong either.

What I wanted this thread to lead to was to perhaps generate some discussion around the topic, so that people can decide for themselves what's important to them.
While you opine that one doesn't necessarily exclude the other, I argue that brilliant technique isn't necessary to be a great photographer. I don't see why those two approaches couldn't coexist, because there's room for both. What is important, however, is to figure out where we want to go with our photography, and more importantly, how to get there. For my own purposes I am almost always entirely happy with my print quality. I honestly don't feel that I need to look at another paper, film, camera, lens, camera strap, or whatever, to get the final print that I want. I do feel it to be absolutely essential to keep my imagination alive, to find interesting subject matter and interesting moments to photograph. The more the technical side of my photography is a constant, I feel the more I am able to develop those areas.

For someone that is possibly not as happy with their print quality, the situation may be completely different, and it's obviously important what it is we wish to achieve with our photography. You know, we all try to find value in our lives, to fill them with as much joy as possible, so that we can be pleased with ourselves when we can't go after those things anymore. Memories, experiences, and so on. To some that achievement could be to write something like a Darkroom Cookbook, and to others it could be to have portfolios of work that they feel great about. The key is, once we decide what we wish to achieve, we can make decisions. Me, I want to be able to continue to make prints that are easy to make, where it's effortless to express what I want to express. That's all.