I think there is (unsurprisingly) a lot of misunderstanding among the CS crowd about what an English major actually studies. I was not one myself (journalism and Russian language double-major), but from what I understood from my English major friends in college, it's not poring over obscure grammar rules for four years. It's actually more of a degree in writing and communications, learning how to structure and present information in essay form. It's also studying the various kinds of writing out there for different purposes - ranging from artistic to practical - and learning about how other writers have communicated in the past (literature) and what can be learned from them and applied to written communications today.
I graduated as a double major: English with a writing concentration, and Philosophy with a religious concentration. I know, the McDonalds track, right?
It's not that hard to understand how someone can look at an MFA student writing poetry for their degree and scoff. However, "English" covers a ridiculously broad spectrum, especially as the definition of a "text" has been broadened to include any context where meaning is being communicated. Ethnographies focus on culture and the spoken and unspoken messages inherent in both our interactions and our environments. The fundamentals of literary criticism can be used to deconstruct and examine everything from works of art to advertising campaigns.
I picked up Philosophy as a second major because I needed a better grounding in where English-as-a-degree is currently grounded. I learned more grammar from my Philosophy classes, because in the upper-level English classes it's just assumed you know how to write. If you don't, how'd you make it that far?
No, an English major is not immediately useful for developing a piece of software, but an English major is useful if you're having a hard time understanding why releasing a decapitated and bloody bikinied torso might offend a significant segment of humanity. Recognizing that connotations are as important as denotations might help bridge certain contentious issues of race and gender that are making more and more frequent headlines. Skill at reading environmental and interpersonal dynamics can lead to subtle changes with dramatic improvements for development teams.
English majors aren't flashy. Chances are slim we'll create for you the next billion-dollar software idea. We're a long-haul sort of investment, which I can understand is distressing for fast-paced companies like Google. We can make what you do and how you do it better, but not always in easily quantifiable ways. Worse, when those ways are quantifiable, they tend to seem blindingly obvious, never mind that you couldn't see the forest for the trees before we came along.
I don't begrudge anyone dissing on English majors. I do it myself because I think it's fun. But I pursued the degree I loved, knowing full well that it wasn't going to earn me six figures anytime soon, or maybe even at all. I'm still happy where I am and with the education I have. Moreover, someone like Bock who dismisses the skills of an English degree gives me a good idea of where their head's at and what's really important to them. Namely, not aligned with what's important to me, so it's not really an opportunity lost.