Q: How do programming languages grow?
A: With pain.
The breadth of the changes as well as the increased similarity to Java has led some people to protest against them, while they portray the future of their beloved language with gloom and doom. Some members of the ECMAScript standardization committee decided to get off the standardization effort and pursue an ECMAScript v3.1, that is much less ambitious in scope, though still quite vague. These members are Microsoft and Douglas Crockford and while Redmond's move has set off the (usually correct) conspiracy reflexes of the community, Crockford's objections carry more weight to those who pay attention.
Its been about a decade since that talk, and it shows. No Powerpoint/Keynote slides, just hand-written ones manually placed on the projector. Even the haircut is out of fashion. However the actual presentation is sheer genius. Steele uses the form of his talk to illustrate the point of his argument. In order to demonstrate the difference between small languages and big languages in terms of the programs they can create and the difficulty of their use, he picks a subset of English as a given, all words with one syllable, and every time he needs to use another word he provides a definition. In the same way you provide a class definition of a Person in Java and then go on talking about that person in your business code as if it was a language primitive, Steele makes a talk sound like a computer program and as he confesses in the end, creating that talk was a lot like writing a program.
It may seem weird at first, but as you get the hang of it, it's an eye-opener. Not suitable for computer-language illiterate people of course. Your girlfriend definitely ain't gonna like it. Even the jokes are kinda geeky. Just watch it when you have an hour to spare and nobody is watching you. Then perhaps you might be able to understand Brendan Eich's passion. And do the right thing: use Firefox.