Johnny Winter, RIP

The blues guitarist Johnny Winter has died at age 70.

Johnny (like his younger brother, keyboardist Edgar) started out as a session musician, briefly became a major solo rock star in the early 1970s, and then went back to a long career as a session musician, mixed with touring.

Both Winter Brothers were albinos — unable to go outside and play in the Texas sun, they stayed indoors and became musical prodigies.

The Winter Brothers filed an interesting lawsuit against DC Comics over a 1995 Jonah Hex comic book arc featuring the disgusting Autumn Brothers, half-worm/half-albino brothers who were the mutant offspring of a giant worm raping their mother.

The National Organization for Albinism and Hypopigmentation (NOAH) filed an amicus curiae brief noting the discrimination and ignorance under which albinos live, especially in Africa.

In 2003, the California Supreme Court ruled overwhelmingly against the Winter Brothers.

What I was struck by was less the intellectual property questions than how the court didn’t even give the slightest sympathy to NOAH’s friend of the court brief about how albinos were a minority victimized by prejudice. For more politically fearsome minority groups, the courts would normally provide some lip service, especially when shooting down their case.

But albinos are one of those potential identity politics groups that, like lefthanders, aren’t real identity politics groups for reasons that aren’t immediately obvious but are worth inquiring into. Apparently, skin color doesn’t actually have much to do with who is and who isn’t a protected minority.