Helping out one of the least of these, my brothers

Baby skunk, courtesy Wikimedia Commons
I am a world-changer, at heart. I have led a privileged life, not without its challenges; but it still provides a stable place from which I feel an obligation to afflict the comfortable and comfort the afflicted.

Sometimes, you never know what impact you’re going to have on the world, as we learned this week from the San Jose Mercury News’ Paul Rogers.

I got a lot of value from his presentation on good writing and working a regular news beat. And not just because his name combines those of my father and one of my brothers.

Cartoon by Gary Williams, Wikimedia Commons


He didn’t know it at the time, but he changed the world simply by writing about skunks, those much-maligned creatures who happen to find yogurt irresistible and Yoplait containers inescapable. His attention to the issue and the brilliant way he hold the story helped to score a big victory for humane activists who had been having a hard time getting the attention of the corporate giant General Mills.

This one article, picked up by a wire service, and written compellingly so that people actually read it, moved a mass of people to take action in the name of an animal usually shunned.

Not necessarily the greatest victory for the forces of justice, and the comments are sure to attract some of the obvious niggling, but the story has inspired me to no end for some reason.

I guess it’s because I imagine that Paul Rogers must know exactly why he does what he does every time he goes to the grocery store.

Photo: Paul M. Walsh, courtesy Wikimedia Commons

Deborah Cipriani is playfully attacked by skunks wanting attention and affection, in the living room of her home in North Ridgeville, Ohio, Wednesday Nov. 13, 2002. Cipriani uses her home to rescue and rehabilitate pet skunks from people who no longer want to care for them, and has over two dozen skunks in her house. She also educates people and groups about owning and caring for skunks. (AP Photo/The Morning Journal, Paul M. Walsh)


About Keith R

Science communication student Santa Cruz Sentinel intern
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3 Responses to Helping out one of the least of these, my brothers

  1. Danielle says:

    I’m so glad you found the original article! These have got to be the best opening four paragraphs ever.

  2. Melissae says:

    Great story, great photos. And anything with a baby skunk is top-notch in my book! Well done.

  3. Fun to see my photo of skunks posted on your article.

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