If I may butt in here and show off I've talked about the text editor war on my blog (and here) before:

http://tonyshowoff.com/articles/vi-vs-emacs-nope-theyre-both-terrible-and-obsolete/ (link to MangoLassi conversation in post)

In all seriousness, because the post is a little over the top, if you want to be a sysadmin with Linux, Unix, BSD, old SunOS machines from the stone ages, etc you really need to know how to use vi. I know how to use vi, I despise it, but it's necessary from time to time. Often there are easier, less terrible editors available, but not always, and sometimes other editors aren't capable of completing the task for whatever reason (vipw for example).

My personal recommendations are nano or pico or FreeBSD's formerly popular "ee", I use these pretty much all the time, except, again, vi does come up.