But why isn't a written language, considered separately from a spoken "version" of it, not a language unto itself? Deaf people learn ASL and also written english, despite having no contact with spoken english. Ridiculous txt msg abbrevs seem to exemplify the same processes of phonetic reduction that speech has.
I think the linked rant is just as valid in this (i.e. my) point of view, though. I'd say: look, written Chinese is just another language, without any magic to it. Its relation to spoken Sinitic languages is that, ok, its semantic equivalence classes are a little more fine-grained. But, for my money, it's pretty much just as capable of describing the world as any other full-fledged spoken or written language, albeit in different particulars. The poets can attend to those particulars, but still Baidu is Bǎidù is 百度.