Yes, if I have my hats far too low then my sticks will hit on some patterns, and it just feels uncomfortable.I suppose hat height could be a factor in this particular debate?
I definitely think its worth learning open handed for some things, I just don't think there's anything inherently wrong with crossing on grooves where it doesn't cause a problem, especially if it feels good to the player. Some grooves just feel great that way (Tommy Igoe said something similar on one of his Groove Essentials DVD's).
Also I tend to notice some drummers position there hats closer to the snare than others, and some further forwards than others depending on how they sit at the kit (more straight on or more turned to the left). Having a double kick pedal obviously affects this too unless you have it on the left of the hats.
If the hats are too far from the snare and my hands begin to be on the same vertical plane or even crossed, then yes it does get uncomfortable, but I never let my set up get like that. When using my 14" hats and just single kick, the edge of the hats actually comes over the top of the snare slightly.
The way I have my hats, my hands are not crossed (my right hand is probably a couple of inches to the rigtht of my left hand). I've only seen drummers actually crossing their arms a couple of times when their hats are way over to the left (like a whole foot) and yes that does look very uncomfortable.
I guess with everything, experiment and adjust as neccessary (positioning), learn a new technique if neccessary (open handed), buy some new equipment if neccessary (remote speed hats).. whatever feels right to you.
This feels a bit like the matched / traditional debate.. I think it's one of those things where you have to think for yourself (shock horror) ;-)
Basically, I agree with 8mile. Much ado about nothing.