The problem with major emphasis on expedience is that it makes everything throw-away. And I know that it seems like a large leap of logic, but even the small things we do have a large impact on the manners in which we think. I think that handwriting as an art form, which you call ceremonial and impractical, can actually stimulate the brain to action and creativity in a way that keyboarding cannot. C'mon: with handwriting, you actually scribe the letter, and with keyboarding you push-a-friggin-button. To me it seems like it can be somewhat mind-numbing.
Side note: I've noticed before that when I did some rote work on paper, or perhaps some math, my typing speed actually increased for a short while. How odd.
If the lack of depth in today's youth is any evidence, I give it. It seems cliche to say so, but in many cases I've found it to be true. Especially in Stickam chatrooms. Jeez!