My remark was in the context of client-side Web applications. I had just compared the situation to that of ten years earlier, when typography was what people were asking for and the browser makers responded by adding attributes to HTML. People that thought ahead a bit realized that HTML was more useful without such attributes and that styling was better done with style sheets. Likewise, HTML is more useful without scripting; downloadable applications are better built with a specialized technology.
Scripting is worse than stylistic attributes/elements (<font>, <center>, color=, etc.) Those make the text harder to read if you aren't using a graphical browser on a color screen, but at least the text is still there. You can index it, print it out, transform it, etc. And luckily, people are using them less and less, in favour of style sheets. It has taken ten years before authors realized that Web pages aren't always read with a graphical browser and that style sheets really do make Web sites easier to manage, but with the advent of mobile browsers and other non-desktop Web tools, device-dependent HTML pages are getting rarer.
So what are the problems of scripting?
Scripting makes a document behave in unfamiliar ways. Everybody has his favourite browser and especially if you browse the Web a lot, it is a big time saver if you can rely on the browser to behave identical no matter what Web page it has loaded. You can almost navigate with your eyes closed. Moving the mouse has no effect, apart from some stylistic changes, clicking has a specific, predictable effect, depending on whether you click a hyperlink or a form control, you can toy with forms any way you like and fill them in backwards, because nothing happens as long as you don't hit the submit button.
I've written elsewhere about what such a technology might look like (and an essay on requirements), so I won't go into that here. I called a client-side Web-based application a “proglet,” because “Web application” is much too wide a term (it also includes server-side applications) and to both associate and distinguish it from “applet.”
Java is the only currently available system for client-side Web applications, but it is too advanced for many of the things people want to write programs for. And because applets are meant for complex programs, they lack some of the nice features that a simpler proglet can have (in particular, device-independence).