The Zone System's raison d'etre is not the inadeqaute dynamic range of b&w film, but that the film's dynamic range is much greater than the printing paper.
Are you sure about this? I'm not really qualified to comment because I've had very little experience in a chemical darkroom. My interest in photography did not take off until the digital darkroom became an affordable reality, but from what I understand there would be 3 major stages in the zone system; correct exposure; appropriate development of the film to increase or reduce contrast as desired, and choice of paper grade to match the contrast of the negative.
I would have thought the zone system creates choices which help one make the best of the DR limitations of the film. Without that framework it would be more difficult to get the desired amount of detail in the significant parts of the image, would it not?
For example, if one wanted to get good detail in brightly lit snow one would probably have to place the snow in zone 7 or 8 and by doing so sacrifice shadow detail in zone 2 and 3 which (perhaps?) no amount of film development technique or choice of paper grade could bring out. One can't have both, but the zone system makes the choices clearer.
If the zone system really is all about compressing the wider DR of film to fit on the narrower DR of paper, then I can't see how it would be relevant at all in the digital world.
Pure black and pure white provide useful information - there is nothing there needed to be seen, or the area is really dark or bright. Pure black is not low quailty detail.
I've nothing against pure blacks and whites. They can be a useful dramatic effect and a great disguise for low quality detail. The eye usually sees the detail in the shadows, but often the camera's DR is inadequate, but never mind, make the shadows black
But with film at least, once the film is exposed, there is little if anything that can be done with the dark areas.
My point exactly! If the film had a wider DR the detail would be there in the shadows, to be used or turned into a pure black shadow, or pure white in the case of highlight detail, by dodging and burning and choice of high contrast or low contrast papers and appropriate developers etc.