cramming a dozen functions onto one line in some kind of clever but completely unreadable tangled chain
I'm not quite sure I'm in agreement with this one. It's not tangled, it flows from right-to-left. It's such a nice idiom that Perl 6 introduces the ==> operator, in order to reverse the flow. It will go from left to right, and I suspect the result will be much more readable.
And if you think it's a tangle, the style question at hand is that of the Correct Use of Whitespace. A well-indented chain of functions should be eminently readable.
massive amounts of referencing and dereferencing
No disagreement with this one. Programmers in C used to create intermediate typedefs in order to get around this problem (like a "pointer to array of functions returning an int with parameters of a pointer to a void function taking an int and an array of characters").
While this exact problem doesn't arise with Perl, the problem of decoding what a massive dereferencing statement is doing can be pretty brain-melting.
• another intruder with the mooring in the heart of the Perl
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