Rolling Stone‘s decision to run an intriguing, semi-attractive, clearly-intended-to-flatter rock-star photo of Jahar Tsarnaev, the Boston marathon bomber, is a gross and heinously cynical act. It basically announces (and not for the first time) that sales and controversy are everything, and that all celebrity is equal and that the reason for this or that person being temporarily famous is immaterial. What say the HE heavy cats? Is it cool or even so-whatty to run a cover photo of a sexy, dreamy-faced enemy of the people?

As far as I can discern the Tsaarnaev profile by RS contributing editor Janet Reitman is a solid, well-reported effort. From the RS opener: “[The artice] delivers a deeply reported account of the life and times of Boston bomber Jahar Tsarnaev. Reitman spent the last two months interviewing dozens of sources – childhood and high school friends, teachers, neighbors and law enforcement agents, many of whom spoke for the first time about the case – to deliver a riveting and heartbreaking account of how a charming kid with a bright future became a monster.”