A practical joke? Are you joking? C++ is not designed so that every feature must be learned and used. It's complexity derives from the fact that it supports OOP, functional programming, generic programming and I'm sure others that Bjarne would happily describe to you and the reasoning behind supporting features being included in the language. Those that are confused by C++'s complexity are doing it wrong. As with Perl it's OK to use only what you're comfortable with, no one is going to make fun of you for not using advanced features and if you like you can keep a C++ program pretty basic.
But it supports all these features to give people what they need to get their jobs done. Lambdas looked a little strange to me at first too but as I studied the examples in Bjarne's book they became clear and I think they are quite expressive, easy to use and worth looking into, especially when you combine them with the types and algorithms in the STL.
Look, I'm a Bjarne fanboy, have been since I started programming in the 90's so maybe my bias is showing through but I never thought I'd come to an article about C++ on /. and find the only comments above a 3 were people whining about how complex a programming language is. Programming is complex, system's programming doubly so and C++ is designed to help reduce that complexity, while at the same time remaining resource efficient, when it's used correctly. If it's too hot to handle for you there is always Visual Basic.