It occured to me today that "RPC" has three of the four letters of "CRAP" in it
It reminds me of object-oriented programming. Underneath it, there are some good ideas. I've chosen to write OO code and like it. I've seen much more shitty OO code and hated it. Similarly, there are good applications of RPC (whether it's CORBA, SOAP, or your own home-brewed rubbish). The only promise of SOAP was that everyone would standardize on an RPC system that was simpler than CORBA. (Standardizing good, because then you don't need to learn and maintain five billion different RPC libraries)
That was the promise. Then the S in SOAP stopped standing for "Simple". The SOAP standard is complex, and by forcing WSDL and UDDI into your mouth while you're licking your lips at the promise of a standardised RPC system, the web services folks have done their best to shit in their nest.
The REST v SOAP v XML-RPC debates are tedious because it's not how that's important, it's what. What are you doing with RPC? You could use SOAP-over-ham-radio or a simple xml-returned-from-a-URL interface and I still won't give 1/10th the shit I did about Google. Why was Google's SOAP interface cool? Because it lets you write programs that treat the meta-information of the web (who links to whom and other popularity/similarity scores) as a data source for your own programs. Amazon's associates interface does the same things for books, but books just aren't as sexy (to most people) as the whole web.
If all the smart bastards who spend their days squatting over Google's API, or claiming that POST-only is a major flaw in SOAP-over-HTTP, or wondering whether there's a "there" there in RESTland put their heads together and designed RPC interfaces to things like the 1911 Britannica, IMDB, the National Atlas, and TIGER, we'd have some amazing things possible.
My parting thought: "Web services" is unstoppable! We'll have to change everything! It's a movement! All those statements are just as true of diarrhoea.