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Ben Stein Story on Page One?

February 11, 1988

Giving a front-page View section story to Ben Stein is a little like allowing a terrorist to express his political theories on the Johnny Carson show ("Ben Stein" by Jeannine Stein, Jan. 21). This amoral, narcissistic opportunist apparently does whatever it comes into his head to do, then (in the case of his piece on Joan Rivers), after hiding behind a pseudonym until he is exposed, complains that he is the one being wronged and that he is becoming "insane."

In seemingly rational defense of his "expose" of Joan Rivers, Stein complains that she is " . . . preaching a social ideology . . . of materialism." He appears to feel it is his obligation to society to expose this behavior, but society's obligation not to call him on it. He apparently also feels Joan should not be so mean as to drag him into her "publicity machine." She should send you roses, maybe, Bennie?

Stein is clearly well-immersed in the double-think and double standard of recent Republican rhetoric (as a former Nixon speech writer), so much so that he actually believes social intercourse operates under the same rules. Fortunately our system requires that the accuser face his accused, and that the writer has the right to write and the obligation to answer for his writings. So, go for it Joan, and may the best materialist win.

ALLAN RABINOWITZ

Los Angeles

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