Must say I was also confused by his link analysis, he picks them up for their off-topicality and then goes on about reciprocal links.
Thing is, those links could just as easily have been bought as reciprocal, which makes me wonder just how much their off-topic factor affects their quality one...
Matt says a lot of things about links, but his message is pretty consistent: stop trying to game the system.
Of course, it's to his benefit for people to stop gaming the system.
But the truth is that system-gamers either have to engage in ongoing, massive gaming or they lose their rankings. Since most people aren't willing/able to make that kind of investment, it's to their advantage if they don't game the system, too.
Matt doesn't say that link reciprocation is always bad. He does imply that only reciprocating or reciprocating indiscriminantly can be a waste of time and effort, since you often end up with links that either don't help you or you may end up linking to others whom you should not link to.
He doesn't mind if people buy and sell links as long as they don't allow those links to impact page visibility and rankings in Google. If people are only buying and selling links for that purpose, well, it's Google's perogative whether to do anything about it. So everyone gains if no one buys and sells links for the purpose of gaming Google.
Matt's message is very simple, actually: please don't game Google.
On the other hand, it's not like they didn't put a huge "Kick Me!" sign up on their backs. They got what they asked for, when they bragged that no one could game their system.