I agree with you. Lots of people like shadows and raised buttons, and in most cases cases they're great and useful.
But why would anybody think that a faux-frayed paper decoration would trick users into thinking an app is friendlier and more approachable and easy to use because there's nothing to learn? When I tear a page out of a notebook or something and it leaves frayed paper, that frayed paper annoys me so much that I will take time to tear it out, piece by spiral-torn piece if need be. Why would anybody possibly want to recreate that annoyance in an application? And it's even worse in a application because I can't do anything about it. That neither increases my joy nor makes the app seem easier to use. It's just annoying.
My fiancee treats computers as a more or less necessary evil but feels the same way:
> It makes me think that whoever made it probably spent too much time making it look like something I could get at Powell's instead if focusing on the usability of the application.
> I think it is cheesy.
Faux-physical design can be fun and inspiring. See the Gradient app for OS X: http://cl.ly/BWdH
. It's great.
But faux-physical design, at least in many cases, seems at best a distraction and at worst like retrograde. Things like raised buttons or shadows as window borders are usually good because they can enhance look-and-feel as well as usability. But when it's purely decorative, and calls attention to itself, shifting the user's attention away from the content to the design, and especially when it recalls the grossness and annoyance of the physical thing it replaces, doesn't that detract more than it adds?