Why hold back? Tell us what you really think ;-) I respect your opinion and I mean absolutely no disrespect but a few things might be pointed. EVH is and was a great guitarist no doubt. I can remember way back when disco was all the rage and VH burst out with their debut album. What a relief. But EVH did not invent two handed techs for the guitar. Plenty of people, even if they were obscure, were doing that for a long time. He did make it popular, though. And there can be no argument that he 'enjoyed' an army of clones.
You want to talk about 'dive bombs'? Say no more than one J. Hendrix. And for him it was no trick or gimic. It was a way for him to represent actual dive bombing -- the kind going on in Vietnam an entire generation before EVH came along. Some people might argue, and they might have a case, that EVH was simply reducing Hendrix's socio-political statements to a circus act.
I really can't see how anyone could denounce an entire generation of guitar players. The world is filled with such incredible talent that you will never be exposed to. But even the well-known guys from the 80s can't be boxed up the way you've done. I can't say I listen to Yngvie all that much but to imply that he merely followed in the shadow of EVH is an overstatement. In fact, they bear no resemblence at all. And, in my opinion, YM had much better vibrato than EVH. If you've heard YM's live SCM you'd realize the man was and I guess still is a total monster on the guitar.
Paul Gilbert a hack? That's pretty simplistic. And has there been anyone with a bigger sense of humor than Gilbert? And take my word for it, humor is nothing to take lightly. Satriani just a nobody? I was around when there was a real lack of good rock guitar instrumental music and JS really was a breath of fresh air -- at the time anyway.
Via, while I'm not a big follower of his music ( I do have 2 albums though) is, from any perspective, one of the greatest practicioners to have ever lived. He seriously raised the bar for guitar players. And I seriously doubt that a compositional genius like Zappa would have hired Vai on at such a tender age if he was not indeed a sheer virtuoso. He may in fact be as good as Paganni (sp?)
And the 80s also brought us Vernon Reid. He was and remains one of the most intelligent and creative guitarists to be fusing jazz with hard rock and funk.
Frankly, I can't see why you have to have one hero or any heros at all. The world is filled with thousands of great guitar players and musicians in all styles to be appreciated rather than idolized. I say they're all great in there own way and they can teach us a lot. If you dismiss them all with a giant dogmatic wave of the hand then you will have shut yourself off from a universe of wonderful music.
And is there nothing out there that is truely inspiring other than EVH? Just look around.