Why is tar so annoying?

I don't know what's worse--the fact that after 15 years of using tar I still can't keep the flags straight, or that after 15 years of technological advancement I'm still mucking with tar flags that were 15 years old when I started.
 (xkcd.com - there can be only one )

Can someone please tell me why the tar command is the worst command in the world? Why did the founders of command line wizardry choose to make the most useful command in the world so cryptic.

The tar command has to be the most frustrating command in the world, if measured by by two vectors:

likeability(x) = ( usefulness(x)^2 - difficulty(x)^2)^1/2

In other words, the more useful the command is, the more likeable it is, but this likability is controlled by how difficult it is to use.

The tar command minimizes likeability because it's annoying difficulty is almost equal to how wonderfully useful it is.

Note that when a command is less useful than it is difficult to use, it's likeability becomes an imaginary number. That sounds about right.

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