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Dumb question about unicode

Okay, I really am an idiot when it comes to unicode.  More than that
if you ask my wife.  But, I have been wondering why I need unicode at
all?  I never used it, knowingly, before Debian but I noticed that it
is apparently the default now.  So, some apps are acting funny and I
am wondering if I absolutely need to keep unicode support as default,
and if not, how can I change it?

My main trouble is mrxvt, which does not have unicode support.  If I
run mutt in that terminal, which is my favorite, it will not draw the
trees right.  Instead of nice little lines and arrows, it now produces
junk looking characters.  Very ugly indeed.  In the past it always
looked fine, without any unicode stuff, and now it is not so nice.
There is a workaround given at the mrxvt site which sometimes works,
depending on how I invoke the terminal, but it is awkward at best and
is not consistent in its results.  And so I am wondering how essential
or needed unicode is, and if not completely essential, how do I change
to something else?

Many thanks,


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