After reading a lot more, I discovered a few things:
1) The bricking with the updated firmware seems to only happen on 500GB models (I upgraded my 1TB model without incident)
2) Seagate released an updated SD1A firmware that unbricks the drives
3) Seagates engineers were pushed to quickly develop a fix for the first bricking incidents, to the point at which the firmware (by directive) went through less QA checks than usual, resulting in the second set of incidents.
I don't hold this against the Seagate engineers. However, others have (validly) pointed out that the issue with the 7200.11's bricking (apparently if your system is rebooted when the SMART logs have exactly 320 entries in them) has existed since at least this summer, and was kept quiet, to the point of deleting posts on Seagate's forums. That's the part that really bugs me. At first, I could see the company thinking this was an anomaly (it's a small percentage of drives relative to the number sold), but at some point, it should have become obvious, and solving it should have kicked into overdrive. It didn't.
I don't have a need for drives right now. We'll see what the market is like when I do. Note that WD apparently had issues in the beginning with their Greenpower drive series, so nobody's entirely immune from problems.
Intel Q9450 @3.2GHz, Gigabyte GA EP45-UD3P, 4 x 2GB G.Skill @4-4-4-12
Antec P160SW case (modded), Xigmatek 750w PSU
3x 500GB (RAID-5), , OptiArc 7200S, ASUS E818A3T
Creative X-Fi XtremeGamer, Hauppauge HVR-1800, Radeon 4890