Thanks for writing this, Ian.
You've clearly articulated a deep frustration that I have felt for several years now. I would love to do web programming in Python but I know that pragmatically PHP is a better choice despite its inadequacies as a language. Finding affordable Python hosting is not easy ; choosing a framework is not easy. Even when frameworks are well documented - like modpython - I would like more than just the bare documentation i.e. books.
For commodity hosting to emerge and books to be written the community has to agree on one framework, develop it further and make it easy for new programmers to get started. I worry that by failing to recognise the importance of the web and adding further complexities to the language Python will actually begin to lose users.