"It's not so much that PHP is a bad language, as PHP was designed around a way of doing things that doesn't make a ton of sense in the modern context."
You mean like the whole "serverless" thing that's all the rage today, and that's baically exactly how PHP works (receive request, start a process, get query and body params, process, return response, kill the process)?
Which, incidentally, is also how you can scale horizontally by adding more servers (containers?)
If you're going to reduce things down to "receive request, start a process, get query and body params, process, return response, kill the process" then you might as well go back to using Perl CGI scripts, because your description works equally well for that.
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