Rose, I think that you largely agree with Kunstler but are repulsed by his presentation style.
The two points you pulled from his talk are key ideas:
1. Degrade public realm, degrade life
2. Places not worth caring about are places not worth defending
Kunstler is criticizing the public’s complacency with the environment we allow to be created. I have to agree with him when he says, “architecture informs who we are and how we live,” and that we have settled on a “national automobile slum.” We have.
And to your assertion that he criticizes those who go to wal-mart or target or whatever is completely untrue. What he is saying is that if young men and women are willing to die in order to promote or defend the American life, then this country had better have it’s shit figured out. Saving the parking lots of Target and Walmart are not reason enough to get shot at (even if you did lose your virginity there).
Architecturally, his examples are good examples of commonly made mistakes in public design. These may be nostalgic for you personally, but that doesn’t make them good. He demonstrates problems with scale, inappropriate use of materials, the two-dimensional design of suburban architecture, and our acceptance of terrible design.
I agree with him that we have a duty to increase the quality of our lives and that the quality of our lives is reflected in the spaces around us.