Traditional photography practices dictate so many things to the photographer. From how a final frame should look, to even the settings within the camera. I have noticed many seasoned photographers out there teaching "how-to" on many photography subjects. Few teach to photograph what you love, because you love or simply enjoy what you are experiencing.
Technical ability is good, but technique is only a means to an end. So yes, learn how your camera works, and learn "sound" editing techniques, these are essential to finding your voice. Once you have technique, then listen to your creative voice to master the message. It is the message you wish to convey through your image that far outweighs all else...including photography "teachers, purists, masters, success models, etc."
When a photographer decides to use a Lensbaby lens, all of that rhetoric goes away. The premise of these lenses is to control blur, bend light, tilt the plane and most importantly, isolate the message and create a dream world to highlight it. Many "important" photographers call these "toys"...an apparent slight against the image, and the photographer. Most detractors are old school folks, entrenched in some philosophies that have been long dead. Philosophies that with today's technologies struggle with the thought of being left behind if adhered to.
Don't get me wrong, the masters and old school philosophies were valuable in the world of photography evolution and need to be respected. If for some reason all electrical power were to fail, not understanding the mechanics would render many "photographers" of today "photographically illiterate". That is not a likely scenario. My point, is that much of the technical old school knowledge is still needed...just leave out anything that is dictatorial on the final output.
Embrace the new tech. Embrace the almost endless editing available to make your image. Does it matter if it fits within anyone's parameters? In the case of artistic messaging, NO. This is YOUR VOICE. In the end, if a Lensbaby is a "toy", and I am to be disrespected for using it, then so be it.
Peace to you, love what you're making, and make what you love.