While this has always bugged me, I had never stopped to think about it too much. Perhaps the solution lies in recognizing that this is a false comparison. We are used to seeing latitude and longitude marked on paper maps, tempting us to think of these as planar (Cartesian) coordinates. However, they are not; the paper (planar) map is a projection of spherical coordinates, and spherical coordinates are generally written as radius, inclination, and azimuth (at least in physics.) In fact, the order radius, inclination, azimuth is codified in ISO 31-11. Geographers don't need the radius (or to the extent they do, they use elevation/altitude, which is the deviation from the nominal radius of the earth), so we just have inclination (latitude) and azimuth (longitude). From this perspective, latitude/longitude is perfectly rational.