I have trouble understanding this.
Did you watch Saving Private Ryan? Huge-budget movie with big-name director and cast, but the beachstorming scenes are purposely shot to suggest crappy handheld cameras and grainy old film. It tells you that you're watching something real, because this is the style in which we're used to seeing things that are real. Had the whole thing been shot with Steadicam and high-def digital camera, the result would not have been as affecting.
The same principle applies here. John Q. Citizen can get perfectly uniform shoestrings from the frozen foods department at the grocery store. At a nice restaurant, he expects some guy in a funny white hat to slice his potatoes, even if he can't see it for himself. One way to suggest that they're hand-cut in the kitchen rather than scooped out of a bag ready to fry is to cut them "badly." So it's not such an advantage to get them perfect, every single time.
I make no judgement about this. Tastes change and the hospitality industry has to keep up with its customers' preferences, even if it means penalizing people who learned how to do things the "proper" way.
Still have trouble comprehending, and I haven't even seen the movie.
Look, knife skills are a skill, nothing more, nothing less. I compare it to fixing a flat tire on a bike. From when my kids started to learn how to ride I always fixed their flats, showed them a zillion times how, but they never thought it important. Until the day my daughter got a flat on her bike far away from home, which was also the day I was out of town...
Look, a good artist--a painter, for example, has to master various techniques: Perspective, shadowing, proportions, colours, etc.. If the artist can not master them, their art suffers, but more importantly creativity suffers because they will purposely avoid projects that incorporate techniques they never mastered.
So it is with cooking, knife skills are a skill to be mastered, just as with learning to saute propely, to braise, make a decent pie dough, or bake a decent cake. If I can't dice an onion properly, I can't use diced onions in sauces, soups, meatloaf, or even salsa; I might rely on pre-diced or frozen onions, but these have quality issues. I might go cow-abunga with a knife and a fresh onion, gripping the knife like a club high over the cutting board, like I was splitting firewood and be rewarded with one part onion mush and two parts onion chunks of various sizes.
As a bonus to mastering knife skills, you are able to purchase whole fruits and vegetables and not be limited in your choices becasue they don't come pre-cut, pre-peeled or frozen, you are able to butcher whole birds and fish, and you are not constrained in your creativity because you have mastered the skill.
Face it, cooking is also a skill, a life skill, and mastering a knife is just one small part of the cooking skill, albeit an important one.