Funnily enough, it is exactly what I was taught! I'll freely admit that I'm a 'Philistine', when to comes to these matters.
I've always taken the view that you throw the text at an engine and let it do the rendering. If it doesn't look right, the engine needs improving. Manual tweaks fall into the realm of premature optimisation, as chances are the content will change faster than the tweaks can be made.
I can see that beautiful typography is nice to have, but apart from automation, I can't see a way to apply it on a mass scale. Crafted typography is the typographic equivalent of assembly language?