Two thoughts that came to mind after reading the essay (I remember a remark by Michael somewhere earlier that had me waiting fo rthis one for some time...).
1, Why all the trouble as a professional photographer to educate a deliberately ignorant crowd? If I am right, the said cliche comes up most on internet forums with high put-through -a certain well-known review site comes to mind- where people oblivious to the relationship between aperture and shutter speed are taught by the "nouveau photographe", who started photography with a DSLR and expensive glass and learned from these forums themselves.
Is there something to gain by taking up the glove with people who are in a totally different realm of experience regarding photography?
2, The combination of different factors and the degree in which they matter is very much dependent on the sort of photography I would think. Classical "beautiful" photography will gain more from good equipment than, for instance, hard-core experimental fine art. I have in mind the factor of subject matter here, and the time allowed and needed to compose and process it into a rewarding capture.
Again, the specific character of fast-paced journalism/reporting photography against for instance, slow paced pinhole art photography comes to mind.
Perhaps I, as a non-pro / shallowly-experienced amateur hobbyist photographer with lenses too good for my skills, may be wrong here, but what I would be interested to know more about the motivation for a pro succesful photographer to take so much issue with what the people down below enjoy spending their time with: pixel peeping and lens stroking :-)