Did We Turn George R.R. Martin On to Free the Nipple?

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Photo: Taylor Hill/Getty

Last night, George R.R. Martin showed the documentary Free the Nipple at his movie theater, the Jean Cocteau, in New Mexico — and while we certainly had nothing to do with him contacting the filmmakers, procuring the film, and exhibiting it outright, we'd like to think that, in some small way, we helped put this on his radar.

You see, back in October when we had our epic hang with GRRM, we asked him over a few slices of pizza in New Haven if he had heard about the campaign. "Is that a breast-feeding issue?" he asked. That, and much more. We looked up the laws in New York, which legalized public toplessness in 1992 as long as it's noncommercial. "So you can't put a topless woman in Times Square handing out leaflets for a bar, because that would be commercial activity," he chuckled. "Or you can't have a topless hot-dog seller. 'Wieners! Get your wieners!'" We talked about different standards regarding concealment in other cultures and in other times. (The Victorians, for instance, thought revealing their legs would be obscene, yet practiced nipple-piercing). And we talked about current-day police harassment of women who appear topless in public as a form of protest.

"But the point I was making," Martin continued, "if you're in Europe and you grow up going to these topless beaches, you grow up seeing all these breasts — the breasts of pretty young girls, the breasts of 80-year-old grandmothers, the breasts of flat-chested girls, of fat girls — and it just becomes, 'Oh, it's another breast.' It loses much of its sexual power." Since it seemed like he was in agreement with the Free the Nipple campaign, we asked if he would consider himself a supporter. "I guess so!" he laughed. We mentioned a documentary was forthcoming, and he perked up — "Really? Interesting ... " And we assume he took it from there.