I used to be a prolific ranter with an interest in Lisp. Running into Eric's posts inspired me to give that up - I didn't want online rants to be my legacy. Related, Xah Lee's crazy writings inspired me to take my social life seriously and not over-share on the internet. Both of them, and the rest of the comp.lang.lisp, taught me that getting stuff done was more important than making sure I was using the most aesthetically pure computing environment. Another lisp programmer, Philip Greenspun, also demonstrated the negative effects of too much writing online. In addition, he showed me that photography was mostly a factor of how much film and equipment one can afford, which inspired me to give that up and focus more on music and other things I had natural talent for. Finally, and only related in form, reading Ludwig Wittgenstein's later "notebook" style writings inspired me to give up on philosophy and enter industry instead of philosophy grad school.
I'm sorry, but the original claim dismissed an entire field of art by claiming that it boiled down to amount of wealth. I thought of writing something longer – perhaps an elegiac about the typical disparagement of what one does not understand, or a list of parallel examples that would show the stupidity of the argument (“computer programming was mostly a factor of how much CPU one could afford.”), but then I decided that it was so self-evidently absurd that it would be a waste of breath to do more than simply point it out as bullshit.
the original claim dismissed an entire field of art by claiming that it boiled down to amount of wealth
I can imagine that, say in the seventies, both camera's and film were a lot more expensive than nowadays(relatively). As practice makes perfect, really getting into photography, wouldn't be an option for all people then, because it would be too expensive a hobby.
It may have been a pretty weird blanket statement, but there may also have been a hidden context that makes it a reasonable statement.