It's a well-reasoned response, Brooks, and there's a lot in what you said that I agree with.
I'm sorry you have trouble seeing the humor in street photography. As I said, it's not stand-up comic funny; the humor usually is in the things people do routinely. I'm going to attach an example. I think I've posted it before on LuLa. I think that in order to "understand" street photography you have to be able to see the humor in it. Of course it's not always funny. Sometimes it's tragic. But it's always humanity doing its thing, which, as I said, the history of photography tells us is what people find most interesting. I'd add that there's enlightenment in good street photography that simply isn't there in pictures of rocks.
I don't quite understand what you said about earth-shaking, opinion-forming, mind-altering photography being produced mostly outside photographic circles. Certainly Dorothea Lange and Gene Smith were well inside photographic circles, unless you don't consider the FSA project to have been a photographic circle. And the idea that neither Migrant Mother nor Minamata is "art" photography sort of blows me away. To me they deserve that title far more than something like Ansel's "Half Dome." Migrant Mother and Minamata are moving human stories. Half Dome is just a rock. If "art" doesn't move you, it's not art.
Yes, I read your comments about Mitch Dobrowner. He does good work and I'm glad to hear he's now doing well as a photographer. That's always good news.
But as far as dropping feathers is concerned, maybe it's age, but the last thing in the world I want to be is a wealthy and famous photographer. It would pose way too many problems. But, of course, I'm not in any danger.