Dearest Aquarian:

As you may be aware, I am a critically-acclaimed “drag punk” musical performer/visionary artist employed by Washington, D.C.’s Dischord Records. Though his predecessors have ignored previous requests, I write to ask that our new President-Elect NOT show up at my home at 1654 Monroe St., NW 20010 on January 21 to ask for advice.

Unlike most legendary rock-and-rollers who make their homes in New York or Los Angeles, I am not only Barack Obama’s loyal subject, but his future neighbor. Though stars like Bruce Springsteen, Bonnie Raitt, and Soul Asylum founder Dave Pirner visit our nation’s capital once every four years to criticize and/or celebrate whoever may currently occupy the White House, these luminaries spend, on average, less than 24 hours in our fair city. Flown to the Rose Garden on Marine One (as Garth Brooks was) or driven to the West Wing by armored limosines (as Ray Charles was), they shake hands with the President, are photographed with the First Lady, perform a short, well-received set at a state dinner and enjoy free food and drink at U.S. taxpayer expense. Then, it’s off to London to meet Prime Minister Gordon Brown or to Paris to meet with French President Nicolas Sarkozy. But I am the only working musician—yes I’m talking to you, Ms. Aretha Franklin! And to you, Ms. Diana Ross!—who lives within shouting distance of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue and must field every President’s endless, tedious policy questions.

Consider an abbreviated list of national emergencies I’ve tackled since 1964:

President Johnson: “Edie, you helped pass the Voting Rights Act, but how can we win the war in Vietnam?”

President Nixon: “Goddammit, Edie, these Jew lawyers have got me on tape swearing like a fucking sailor! What the fuck am I going to do about this?”

President Carter: “Edie, I know it ain’t like a Southern gentleman to call so late, but how can I convince the Shah to release these hostages?”

President Reagan: “Edie, Mikhail Gorbachev simply refuses to tear down this Wall. How can I get this man to tear down this Wall?”

President George H.W. Bush: “Edie, I know it might not be prudent, but now that we’re in Kuwait, I’d like to invade Iraq. Should I?”

President Clinton: “Edie, I’d just love a sandwich. You know where I can get a sandwich in Georgetown this time of night?”

President George W. Bush: “Now, Edie—don’t misunderestimate me. I know we’re not in Kuwait any longer, but I’d like to invade Iraq. Should I?”

In 2008, America is on the cusp of an economic downturn that rivals the Great Depression. Can you imagine the laundry list of problems Barack Obama will need help solving at three a.m. on any given night?

“Edie, how can I create green jobs?,” “Edie, how can I save the American auto industry?,” “Edie, how can we restructure the Fed now that control of the federal funds rate has proven to be a totally useless macroeconomic tool?” Aquarian, I say this now for the benefit of your editors and your readers: “Barack—I don’t have time to help you provide health care to every American! I’m trying to book a tour! Barack— I don’t have time to negotiate Iranian leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad! I’m recording a new LP! Barack—I can’t help Malia and Sasha pick out a puppy! I’m trying to get laid tonight!”

Though I will unavailable to advise Barack Obama, I am able to forward all inquiries to my producer and employer, Dischord Records co-founder Ian MacKaye. If Ian cannot be reached at the label, he can generally be found purchasing organic products at the P Street Whole Foods.


Edie Sedgwick

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