Point taken Each to their own. I see some amazing HDR but about 1% of the time. The most amazing HDR for me is when it doesn't look like HDR. So often it has that 'confected' artificial look I find. It becomes a processing look of its own and often due to non-judicious post processing - or people taking too much of a dynamic leap.
But just my opinion obviously.
I understand what you are saying ... IMHO, in the resent years HDR photography technique has influenced a lot of people and many probably tried to emulate that technique and probably didn't fare well, so I suppose the fault lies more with the photographer's ability to use HDR correctly rather than some fault of HDR ... after all it is just a tool ... the same applies to any photography technique ... take saturation for example ... I've seen photos where they have been post processed so bad that the saturation looks artificial, but that is the fault of the photographer and not the fault of saturation.
This is where 5D MK III shines ... see this pic ... it was made in a very dimly lit corner of an exhibition booth today at the Offshore Middle East Conference ... when I saw that food, I immediately wanted to see what the 5D MK III's in-camera HDR could come up with ... the photo is handheld and no post processing, it is straight out of the camera ... I didn't pay any special attention to composition ... all I did is, set it to f/16 on Av mode, ISO 100, enable in-camera HDR to Natural, point and shoot. IMHO, nowhere does the photo look like HDR.