Thanks for your kind words, Ryan, and the invitation to the discussion.
The idea I was attempting to counter with that talk is the notion that if you resort to using words, you have somehow failed as an interface designer. This misconception has spawned a million unintelligible icons.
The most effective interface elements in a particular context might be words, or words in conjunction with graphics, or just graphics. Like all design choices, it depends.
Speed is critical. Will it take the user longer to read the phrase or interpret the non-verbal representation? The answer varies. Ambiguity is the mind killer.
Often the best choice is a graphic+word pairing because the graphic will draw the eye and the word will clarify the meaning.