It's just a hunch of mine, but I would guess that what makes Catholic traditionalists so annoying is that they seem to be annoyed by so much of what the rest of the "normal" conservative Catholic world takes for granted as being "normal."
When I say "what the rest of the 'normal' conservative Catholic world takes for granted," I'm thinking of EWTN, Dan Schutte's Mass songs, contemporary church architecture, the Novus Ordo liturgy, Communion in the hand, free-standing altars, the obvious blessings of Vatican II, bishops dancing at World Youth Day, all-you-can-eat Lenten Friday fish fries -- things like that.
The case of the Catholic apologist seems almost emblematic. Tradition-minded Catholics generally seem put off by the Catholic apologist. They seem to find him annoying. Why? Would they say it's the slightly patronizing "patness" of his answers? the approaching-smug sense that if his listeners simply got all their facts right, all would be well with the Church? I don't have the answer. But I do know that "normal" conservative Catholics are sometimes seriously annoyed when they discover that traditional Catholics are put off (for whatever reason) by their celebrity apologists.
The fact is, I have personally profited a great deal from some of their work. I like the arguments made by Karl Keating in Catholicism and Fundamentalism, by Jimmy Akin in The Salvation Controversy, and by Peter Kreeft in Fundamentals of the Faith: Essays in Christian Apologetics (despite the fact that it misled a Lutheran bishop to conclude that the Catholic Church had come around to the Lutheran understanding of the Christian faith, which conclusion he was rudely disabused of by Pope John Paul's grant of a Jubilee year indulgence in 2000, leading him to reverse his decision to become a Catholic). Nonetheless, many of these sorts of works are well-conceived and meet a real need, not only for the potential convert but for the Catholic who wishes to know his faith better, particularly vis–à–vis Protestantism.
Still, I can imagine that there are many tradition-minded Catholics who would be at least mildly annoyed by titles like Dave Armstrong's Bible Proofs for Catholic Truths, or One-Minute Apologist, no matter how cogent and substantial Armstrong's arguments.
The question is, why?
The answer, I imagine, would have something to do with the fact that those Catholics who are particularly concerned about (some might say obsessed with) Catholic tradition probably tend to think that other "normal" conservative Catholics aren't sufficiently exercised about the kinds of things that concern them. That is, as these tradition-minded Catholics see it, there is a subject often conspicuously absent from the table in most discussions by apologists -- something that cuts to the heart of their own concerns -- namely the crisis in the Church. (And let's not get hoodwinked by the red herring that the Church has always been in crisis, which doesn't absolve us from dealing with our own crisis of mass apostasy and an imploding Church.)
Of course it goes without saying that the Catholic apologist, who is concerned with defending and promoting Catholic doctrine to prospective converts, is not likely going to be spending a lot of time lamenting the pitiful state of the Church today. This creates the impression among tradition-minded Catholics, however, that the Catholic apologist, while serving a certain niche market, seems to be a member of a sort of fan club for the status quo that is hell-bent on winning converts even at the cost of dishonesty in advertising.
Many Catholic apologists are, like me, converts to the Catholic Faith. All of us converts, I think I can safely say, were thrilled to be received into the Church and wouldn't be caught dead anywhere else! We embraced (and continue to hold) the fullness of the Faith with enthusiasm. But not all of us took the same paths after our conversions.
Some, in quasi-Baptist-fashion, have made careers out of calling others to swim the Tiber and come aboard the Ark of Salvation, the Church. Just as good Baptists, once they "get saved," are often focused primarily on getting others to "get saved," so some Catholic apologists seem focused primarily on honing arguments that will help get non-Catholics into the Church. I say "Bravo"! Good for them!
Meanwhile, other converts are more preoccupied with the internal state of the Church. In the cultural momentum of the recent Church history, they have discerned much that fills them with alarm. The focus of their concerns is thus not so much on how to win converts as how to keep them once they come into the Church. How do we keep converts from dying of thirst in the shallow puddle of Marty Haugen church music, Fr. Richard Rohr "catechesis," or programs of Lenten Yoga? How do we make sure they find firm rooting in the rich soil available in the Church fed by the living springs of her Sacred Tradition? Let me say that I also share with many of my Catholic friends this concern for growing deep roots in Catholic tradition.
From this vantage point (at least for traditionalists), it may sometimes appear as though the rest of the "normal" conservative Catholic world is intent on burying its head in the sand. Of course, I seriously doubt this is true; yet I can understand the perception. Where but among the more tradition-minded Catholics, who are often dismissed as (and sometimes are) extreme (Michael Davies, Geoffrey Hull, Louie Verrecchio, Michael Voris, John Vennari, Michael Matt, Christopher Ferrara, Atila Sinke Guimarães, Romano Amerio, Roberto de Mattei, etc.) does one find any real head-banging-serious hand-wringing over the effects of Vatican II and the current implosion of the Western church?
Oh, of course there will be the obligatory nod toward the problem of abuses and confusions here and there, as exemplified by Helen Hull Hitchcock in the Adoremus Bulletin. But the focus is clearly on trying to patch up a few relatively minor bruises on an otherwise healthy patient. One need only read or listen to anything by the prolific Fr. Robert Barron on his Word of Fire website, or by the equally prolific George Weigel, like his Evangelical Catholicism, or listen to any of his interviews, to see how oblivious they seem to be about the deepest concerns that trouble tradition-minded Catholics. In fact, the Evangelical Catholicism envisioned by Mr. Weigel seems not substantially different from an Evangelical Protestantism to which a number of corrective Catholic propositions have been superadded (like frosting on a cake) for the assent of the faithful, along with numerous para-church lay apostolates to pick up the slack left by a radically diminished traditional monarchial hierarchy.
Meanwhile there continues to be a lot of talk about evangelization and the New Evangelization, but very little actually being done beyond diocesan and parish programs that come and go and leave the status quo pretty much unchanged. Not for a moment would I deny or belittle the evidence of pockets of renewal here and there throughout the country, or the work of wonderful priests and lay evangelists faithfully working against incredible odds and often at great personal sacrifice: there is nothing that argues so incontrovertibly as the testimony of changed lives. At the end of the day, nonetheless, for all their work and for all the books and articles and programs focusing on parish renewal, keeping kids interested, and bringing lapsed Catholics home, there is very little that promises to stem the tide of massive apostasy sweeping the West.
That leaves the tradition-minded Catholic with a sense that something about all the "happy talk" among contemporary "normal" conservative Catholics seems a bit abstracted from real world of lived experience in the local parish, and the sense that the rubber never quite hits the ground -- and the fact that he refuses to stop pointing this out is probably what makes him so damned annoying. Especially if he's cheerful.