This is so weird. I have searched all sorts of forums and not found anything like this. Sorry for the lack of clarity int he earlier posts, I was u s ing Lynx and could only read one line of input text at a time
For some reason, xf86cfg boots up a perfectly good X console with TabWM. From here I can actually use an xterm and kill Tab and start wmaker...
It's just that, startx itself brings up nothing but a mess of colors, although reporting no errors in its log.
I have the feeling it's either something really simple or really grave. Anyways, gsomethingashley person, your advice was very helpful. Even though it didn't fix my problem per se I learned something from it
. I'm thinking it might be time to downgrade a version/