One of the habits that English majors cannot resist is trying to read between the lines of a piece of written material to try to determine what the author is really saying. Many people make fun of this activity and claim that the words on the paper tell everything that the author intends and that it is either absurd or vain to try to interpret the words any other way.
Smug English majors know that people rarely write clearly about their inner thoughts and often have reasons for being a little obscure. Sometimes the reasons include telling a better story, other times the reasons for attempting to conceal true meaning or motivation is to convince people to do something that might not be in their best interests without letting them know why you want them to do it.
Of course, such analysis by literature majors is often wrong, but it provides plenty of work and keeps some academic publications in business.
Getting past the throat clearing portion of this post, I wanted to talk a bit about a column that appeared recently in the Houston Chronicle titled Power answer is spelled IGCC. Though the piece seems to be a straightforward endorsement for Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle (IGCC) coal power stations, I have a slightly different twist.
I think that the author is a closet supporter of new nuclear power stations and he is trying to encourage Texas readers to demand that people who want to build coal plants use IGCC. If he can make that demand stick, his favored power source will be much more attractive and successful.
I will not bore you with my analysis now. I will leave it to you to engage in discussions about the linked column to figure out why I said what I did and what my possible motivations could be. (This is what one of my revered professors would have called a “teachable moment”.)