Dear Carly,

Nice song. Wow, you really stuck it to me, eh? Yes, ma’am.

Jesus, you are one bitter woman, Carly Simon.

Listen, I’m pretty busy right now with high-profile meetings and social engagements, but there were things I simply could not let stand.

First of all, that party took place on a yacht. So the way I walked in was perfectly appropriate. In fact, there is a certain way that one is expected to conduct oneself in such a situation. I could explain but I doubt you’re interested. As for the apricot scarf and the tilted hat, again, perfectly appropriate for a maritime soiree. Look it up. I’m sorry you had a problem with that. Funny, there were plenty of girls that night who certainly had no quarrel.

Secondly, yes, I went up to Saratoga for an important horserace. And yes, my horse won, thanks to years of training and the hard work of all the people involved. Is this a bad thing? And yes, I did take the jet to Nova Scotia. I would do it again in an instant. Have you ever seen the total eclipse of the sun, Carly? It’s one of the most amazing natural phenomena one could witness, so, if I have the means to see it, I don’t see that as vanity, I see it as being fully alive. I also took 35 orphans up there with me, free of charge, but there’s nothing about that in your song. All right, I didn’t really do that. But I thought about it and that’s what matters.

Third, pursuant to your charge that I was with an “underworld spy,” I can’t discuss that. But I am known to spend time with wives of close friends. And what do I do with said women, Carly? Talk. Have tea. Catch a movie or attend a polo match. These women’s husbands are entertainers and travel quite a bit, so I spend time with them, because that’s what friends do. And sometimes I have sex with them. But not as often as you might think.

Look, we could bicker over these particulars all day long and accomplish little. My chief quarrel with you is more existential: I know the song is about me, so how does recognizing that fact make me vain? Honestly, if someone shouted “Hey, Carly Simon!” at you and you turned around, would that be a sign of vanity? No. It would be a simple recognition of reality. If the song were actually about Spiro Agnew and I thought it was about me, that would be vain. But your use of the second person (“you’re so vain”) combined with the details about the horse and the jet and the apricot scarf, leaves no doubt. So I’m vain? I’m not deaf, is more like it.

And a bit of advice: if you’re going to call someone vain, avoid lyrics like “I had some dreams, they were clouds in my coffee.” What the pot calls the kettle, my dear.

I will not pursue legal action, Carly, because I’m far too busy and, believe it or not, I still have fond memories of our time together, when you were still quite naive. I find naiveté enchanting. It leads me to make promises. As you know. But I do hope that you try to think a bit more fairly before you record any other potential screeds. Best of luck to you, regardless.

With love from your vain muse,
Mick Jagger or Warren Beatty or Kris Kristofferson or whoever the hell I am