What happened to you to make you so bitter towards harmless humanities cranks?
The whole point of the article is that there are too many Ph.Ds out there. One way to get noticed is to do work in new areas - either reexamining an older work through the prism of newer theories, examining a newer book/artist that hasn't had a lot of critical attention paid to it yet, or tearing down someone else's criticism of older work.
The humanities isn't narrowing, it's broadening. I assure you there are just as many people studying the classics as there were before, but there are also people following other interests that have more meaning for them - people spending their time on minority authors, foreign works, the avant garde, or radically different approaches to criticism. There's also a lot of political ax-grinding and agenda-driven studies, but that comes from being in such a personal field.
It's easy to set up a strawman argument against professors who write theses about things you don't understand or don't want to understand or don't think are valid art (let's not go there), but it's still a pretty small area of interest. You are, however, more likely to hear some (cultural) conservative bitching about corner-case dissertations and minor gallery pieces made with menstrual blood, and whatever happened to gosh-darn UNDERSTANDABLE art, in the same way that you get old-timer laments about how violent the country has become when crime is at an all-time low, or how every teenager dresses like a prostitute because Miley Cyrus.
There has been a backlash against 70s-80s style Continental theory for quite some time now - the heyday of 'overly theoretical' has died down. But also... why should undergrads dictate what they should be taught? I promise you, any high-schooler coming into Lit 101 has a pretty narrow view of how to interact with art, because that's just not taught in high school, because high school English is geared towards SAT scoring. It's difficult to learn new ways of reading outside of the common-sense interpretations, the "what does X symbolize?" essay questions printed in sophomore textbooks. If all you want to do is talk about what base symbolism means and whether characters have 'realistic' depictions, or bear testimony about how deeply something moved you, why pay thousands in tuition when you could just join a reading circle?
What is so scary about learning new frameworks with which to interpret art? Placing works in context, historically and stylistically and politically? Spending some time thinking about how meanings are produced? Examining how something completely constructed and with a particular motivation can end up seeming so 'natural' and 'true'? Learning to completely disregard authorial intention in favor of coming up with your own meaning for something, OR learning more about an author and how the circumstances they lived in shaped their thought and style? Examining cultural or historical bias in older works through today's ideas about race, class, ethnicity, gender/sexuality, political power, psychology, etc? About looking beyond 'obvious' meanings? Learning a bit more about linguistics and grammar and cognitive language processing?
All those things take a bit of "theory," because you kind of need a framework of words and concepts to be able to articulate them - how do you describe what you don't know how to describe because you haven't known to look for it before? Or if you don't need them, it's certainly easier to have a pre-established dictionary of terms to work with than to reinvent the wheel in every paper you write. Theory is shorthand for complex ideas. It's jargon, but no worse than reading a scientific paper without enough preparation. It makes no sense to an outsider, and people feel threatened by that for some reason - the big scary professor doesn't make sense to me, therefore he doesn't deserve a living. Kind of like how some people don't understand science, therefore it's wrong or incomprehensible or against the natural order of things because it doesn't make sense according to what I've seen with my own two eyes or it's those goddamn liberals pushing their values on me to take away my oil and turn our children into perverts and drug-users (which, I'll admit... art does kind of have a tendency to doing that.) It's not grounded in something I can easily understand without learning something or using a different viewpoint, therefore it's bullshit.
Humanities and science aren't enemies - ignorance is their joint enemy. There shouldn't be such enmity between the two; one investigates natural truth, one examines man-made truths. The problem with the humanities isn't the content or spirit of it, which is simply finding/learning how to create new meanings, but economic and political aspects of academia, based on the choices our culture has made about its value.