To me, this year, Pattaya feels quite different to me on this trip, especially along Walking Street and Beach Road. A much nicer energy. Coincidence? I think not.
I used to visit Phuket regularly but stopped doing so a few years back because I found it unpleasant to be around both the tourists there and the locals.
With regard to the OP, I agree that the subject is a bit complicated. Factors to be considered include quality of the tourist to Thailand, the business practices of the locals, and also the ethnocentricity of many of the Thai people. Thailand's adult tourist areas do not seem to attract the West's finest. It would be so easy for those in the tourist areas to conclude that Westerners are not smart and have absolutely no manners. I believe that there is a very marked difference between the tourists who visit Pattaya and Patong and those who are truly here for temples and beaches.
I find it uncomfortable when I see visitors ignore the most basic of Thai values, whether it's going without a shirt, screaming loudly at a waiter in a restaurant or being intimate or suggestive in public. This is not occasional, it's the norm in the tourist areas here. The simplest of manners fall into the "Thai Culture 101" chapter of any travel book or on any website. The argument that "it's my money, I will spend it as I like" holds up when referring to unacceptable behavior by the Thais (such as pressure for lady drinks), but IMO, it does not justify culturally insensitive behavior toward our hosts.
I think that the bad behavior of tourists in other countries does indeed put the issue in perspective, but I also feel that bad behavior elsewhere does not make the negative stuff that goes on in Thailand any more acceptable.
I don't think that I will lose my love for Thailand any time soon and it will probably remain my first choice as a travel destination.