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Change of pace

SURVEYS indicate that the American people are getting bored by the Iran story and by press preoccupation with it. This is good news for President Reagan, who is pretty bored with it himself and would just as soon we all get distracted by something else.

Well, relief is at hand.

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We are suddenly confronted by a string of the great human dramas of our times. They have to do with sports, culture, literature, entertainment; none has anything to with Iran.

All this week, for example, newspaper and TV ads have been cajoling us to build our weekend around the Super Bowl this Sunday. Meanwhile, hundreds of sports reporters have been descending upon the Giants and the Broncos asking those penetrating questions that many sports reporters do: ``Who's gonna win?'' ``How ya feelin'?'' and ``Are ya psyched?''

Some fans are a little blas'e. Says one: ``The Giants will be so overpowering, it will be boring.'' Check back with you after the game, son.

Another of the great questions of our times: What ever happened to Boris Becker? Boris was wiped out in the Australian Open this week by Wally Masur. Yes, that's M-A-S-U-R, and he is - or was - ranked 71st in the world. Defeat was startling enough, but Becker lost his Germanic cool and went slamming his racket and hitting a ball into the crowd just like any full-blooded American tennis hot-dog. Who does he think he is, Boris McEnroe?

Will Boris regain his cool? Stay tuned.

Then there is one of the great dramas of our times, the America's Cup race taking place in the heaving waters off Fremantle, Australia.

There is Australian Alan Bond, who spent millions to win the cup from the Americans, then lost the race to defend it. He will be watching a boat called Kookaburra III race for Australia.

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There are the New Zealand whiz kids, who once seemed set to beat the US challengers, but who lost and paid graceful tribute to the US victors in a speech that did their little country proud.

And there is Dennis Conner, the single-minded American sailing maestro, investing years, and millions, and emotion, to recover, and bring back to American shores, a quaint metal trophy.

In the world of culture there is a question of great drama: Will Mikhail Baryshnikov go back to make a guest appearance with the Bolshoi in Moscow or will he not? The irony is awesome. In the movie ``White Nights,'' where the freedom of expression in his dancing was spectacular, he made such a return under duress. Now he must determine the motivation of Mikhail Gorbachev in beckoning him to return.

In New York City, tension, gripping all of a hundred or so people, ripples out into the world of literature and journalism. The new owners of The New Yorker magazine have edged legendary editor William Shawn aside and are replacing him with Robert Gottlieb, chief editor of the Knopf publishing house.

Will a staff insurrection save Mr. Shawn? Probably not. Will the new editor decline to assume office? Absolutely not. Who decides - writers or owners - who should lead big publications? Stay tuned.

Slipping down the cultural ladder a few rungs to TV entertainment, the hot question on the dinner circuit is whether the new CBS ``Morning Program'' will make it.

Eschewing news, Mariette Hartley and Rolland Smith are presiding over the newest entry in this traditionally bleak spot in the CBS program lineup. Miss Hartley has given it all a decidedly fluffy character, while Mr. Smith, a former news anchorman, is trying to look less and less uncomfortable as each day goes by. In my book, Miss Hartley's golden retriever, Daisy, is a decided plus up till now, perhaps because she doesn't say anything, but pants pleadingly for viewer affection.

Finally, there are those California raisins dancing in the TV commercials. Will they become a genre? Or are they just a fad?

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