All I wanted was a fast text console. I don't want a splash screen, I don't want alternate video resolutions. I just want something with low-to-no overhead and which has speedy screen updates. (I've run into really slow console updates under many flavors of virtualization, which makes things almost unusable.) I looked around on the web for many days, and finally had to trace the boot process in painful detail to figure it out.
The plymouth package is the software that displays bootspash screens and such. It tries to figure out whether or not a real graphics console is available, loading several kernel modules in the process. plymouth does not respect any kernel boot options (including: nofb nomodeset vga=normal nosplash). The only way to prevent plymouth from loading up the framebuffer driver is to either remove the software (which will come back to bite you when you upgrade), or to blacklist the framebuffer drivers so modprobe will not load them for any reason. I did the latter.
So add the following to the /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist file:
Done. Fast console.
After discovering the fix, I did find the following web pages, which also comment on these issues: