Re: "now that it's well into Debian, Ubuntu really has no choice"
"That's not a good way for supposedly independent systems to behave."
It isn't an independent system. systemd is the thing that starts everything else in userland. And if you start trashing your distribution (or if it has broken deps) then it is hardly surprising if it starts failing in weird ways.
Really, most criticisms of system are ad hominems, outright wrong or such weird edge cases that they don't apply to most people. If it were so awful, "so shite", it wouldn't be used by dists. But it is because they recognise it is a massive improvement over SysV.