Others have already nicely pointed out the nonsense of those eight "arguments", but I can't resist pointing them out one more time, in my words. I'll list them here quickly for your convenience if you haven't read the original article, and give a very brief reaction to each.
1.You'll find the writing baffling...
No, I don't know how you know what I feel, but I actually love the characters. It's very different, right, but it's only "baffling" if you expect it to make sense in the way you learned to understand writing.
2. ...and the tones a nightmare
Seriously? Nightmare? I'll discuss this one later.
3. The mistakes can be filthy.
Once again the choice of words seems highly unprofessional to me, but that's just one thing. You are talking about the danger of pronunciation mistakes when your first language is notorious for representing the same sound three different ways and pronouncing the same letter in three different ways.
4. Your progress will be glacial.
Again, the writer knows me better than I do! I won't even start to explain personal differences in learning habits and skills here, as I think those should be very obvious to anyone who ever talked to another human being.
5. You won't be able to text message.
"See you tomorrow at the bookstore." - 28 characters
"mingtian zai shudian jian." - 22 characters
6. Good teachers are in short supply.
What's good teaching for me may not work for you. By the way, have you ever heard of e-learning?
7. In any case, most of the people don't speak it.
He's talking about the standard "official" mandarin. Yes, many people speak local dialects as their first languages. But they understand mandarin and they can read it, and most of the people I met in Shanghai could speak mandarin without difficulties.
8. ...and nor do their leaders.
Hey, you are not mixing up standard pronunciation of a specific dialect with general competence of a language, are you?
This kind of writing is extremely harmful for both teachers and students. How many people who were thinking about giving it a try will change their minds because of this? And in general, why on earth would anyone write an article telling people not to try something just because it might take longer to succeed than to order a meal at McDonalds? Actually, the more I think about it, the angrier I feel about this useless article, which is only there to discourage people from what could be the start of a life-changing journey like it has been for me.
It may look like the author is showing off his superior knowledge about the language, talking about tones and characters, but in fact he doesn't seem to know much about those things. Otherwise he wouldn't pen phrases like "tones are a nightmare." No. Tones are NOT a nightmare. Tones are a crucial part of a living, functioning language. Just because the author's first language doesn't happen to have this specific feature, dismissing tones as "a nightmare" is, in my opinion, arrogance. What it says to me is "I don't understand it, therefore it must be difficult/useless/pointless."
I wonder what people like the author of that article would think if someone wrote an equally nonsensical, superficial article about their own first language? How would they feel about the overgeneralization and unprofessional approach then?
No, it's time to treat Chinese as a language like any other. Not "mysterious," not "exotic," and definitely not "notoriously difficult." Opening people's minds to accept and even enjoy cultural, linguistic or any other difference IS apparently what is notoriously difficult.