Contrast is bad. With the popularity of HDR (High Dynamic Range) photography has come the rather arbitrary idea that contrast is no good. Consider this: Photography has always been about contrast. Contrast in tonality, contrast in color, contrast in texture all help define and structure a composition. Without contrast, a photograph can look flat and dull.
It's true that cameras have a more limited capacity -- dynamic range -- than our eyes do. This naturally results in contrasty images. That's neither good nor bad except as it affects how you want to protray your subject. HDR can be ideal for certain subjects because it can be used to reveal elements in a scene that are important and can't be captured by the camera without it. On the other hand, the drama of contrast can be equally important, and working to eliminate that contrast can weaken a photo. In the final analysis, contrast is simply a tool to be used by the photographer to control the image and give it the interpretation that works best for your subject and your needs as a photographer.