I haven't seen any behavior like that in Debian or Ubuntu, and suspect that PP is referring to the product rather than the means.
I expect that when PP refers to "egomaniac" he has Shuttleworth's comments about Canonical-developed software vs. other software (mostly RedHat, by chance) in mind.
As far as getting along with the maintainers goes, Ubuntu's certainly not bad.
But he doesn't agree with the decisions they make, so he thinks they suck.
Frankly, I think that unity and gnome-shell are both misconcieved abominations, and KDE, Xfce, and Gnome 2 all seemed somewhat like shovelware.
IceWM is the best window manager, and who needs a desktop? They always end up getting loads of garbage thrown on them.
System init sucks in one way or another, all the time, though I'd rather use * + OpenRC or an LSB-conformant system atop sysvinit or kin than either upstart or systemd.
Those who get annoyed by Canonical working on Upstart have probably forgotten their history by now...
(It's good when it's fast, but it's important to be able to see how it works. No, "You can get the source if you want. You'ld better know C well." is not all there is to seeing how it works. Give me a script I can read.)
For "circlejerk committee..." I suspect he means either Debian or Gentoo. And I can't speak about Gentoo.
For Debian though, I'm more pleased with what the Debian developers come up with than with Red Hat.
Now that some of the old Debian developers have moved on and there are several contributors from Canonical, the average seems to be fairly tolerable.
You will really draw fire if you are persistent in disagreeing and not persuasive, or if you phrase things in a provocative way. Debian users and developers all seem to go by the rule "flaming where flaming is due," and are well able to dish it out. But it's quite possible to avoid that.
Now if he meant to refer to Arch, ....