I have great sympathy with your perspective, and on some levels I agree with you. Bad perl code is very bad.
I had a discussion regarding perl with a friend whose opinions I respect. He suggested that often when I look at perl and see it as line noise I am missing many subtleties because of my inexperience with the language. This is a point I had not considered but one I have sympathy for. Good code is a universal concept, universal across all languages. Good code comunicates intent along with performing some function. The (valid) critique you were making is that on occasion that intent is not as clear as it could be. It is possible, for ME at least, that sometimes the intent is clear I just cant read it? I understand the individual subs and symbols but do not YET fully understand the idioms and patterns of perl. Tiss a thing I am still learning.
Most other languages I use the symbols and methods dictate the flow. Perl is more subtle and complex the symbols and subs combine to produce the flow it is only with experience that full apreciation is possible. I almost thing that perl should be marked as a catagory aside a special methodolgy not complex or clever just different. More akin to natural languge where the context is as important as the symbol.