I agree wholeheartedly with many of sentiments expressed. Since I started learning Mandarin I have been surprised by the general impression (often not explicitly stated) that it is somewhat different to other languages. Not a language that is for Westerners that are mere mortals, but rather for those who can elevate themselves to a higher plane of existence.
I happen to think that Chinese is just another language that can be learned just like many other languages. My main obstacle as a European simply being that I have not built up any background exposure already at the time I start to learn.
I happen to believe that a late thirty something Western guy with a full-time job and family can (if committed) adopt learning Chinese as his main hobby for a while and learn to understand, speak, read and write reasonable everyday Mandarin in far less time that a University student will finish his/her course in Chinese language. Without the Internet it would be a different story, but with it you don't even need to attend Chinese classes.
I happen to think that I don't really need to study any complicated linguistics or learn any complicated grammar terms to do so.
I keep happening upon many people who happen to think that I am sadly mistaken.
If you happen to agree with me then listen to the interview it will make you feel better. If you don't agree with me then listen anyway it could be one of those things that help you wake up and smell the coffee (it might happen).
Disclaimer: if you are a linguist or a grammar fanatic then I wish you well, but please don't add to the impression that an average guy can't learn Chinese just because they want to.