BOOBS AND BEAUTY.

Let's face it: those are the two things fueling the insatiable public interest in the "Bonnie and Clyde" scandal that has brought great joy to tabloidland.

Sure, part of our fascination with Jocelyn Kirsch and Edward Anderton is simple curiosity.

How could people with such "substantial gifts in life" - as one police official put it - including devoted families and excellent educations, be so ungrateful?

How could they be so heedless and reckless with the advantages other people would die for?

How could they defy the mandate of virtue inspired by such blessings?

Kirsch, 22, and Anderton, 25, are charged with committing multiple identify thefts and burglaries to subsidize an obsessively documented life of travel and luxury.

But the truth is this: if Jocelyn Kirsch were homely and flat-chested, the story would have faded from the headlines immediately.

Instead, we're treated to daily photos of this knockout beauty, showing her curvaceous cleavage and come-hither looks.

Anderton has been entirely eclipsed by his avaricious girlfriend as the story has unfolded.

Yes, that's partly because many people who claim to have been victimized by her in the past have documented her transgressions on Web sites. Anderton's friends have been far less forthcoming.

But the bigger reason is simply that Kirsch is young and gorgeous, a fact documented in a curious number of photos the couple took.

So the delicious irony is this:

One of Jocelyn Kirsch's substantial gifts - her centerfold looks - has backfired on her.

Her boobs and face have given a longevity to this scandal that shows no sign of abating.

I'll bet she may be regretting about now her father's bizarro Christmas gift of breast implants.

Does this seem snarky and uncharitable?

After all, you could argue that someone so hungry for luxury that she'd betray everyone she knew is a sad, needy person with low self-

esteem.

You could argue that someone whose father sends her breast enlargers has gotten deviant messages from her family that warped her moral template.

OK, fine. I still find Kirsch and Anderton loathesome and utterly unsympathetic.

And there's a definite satisfaction when someone who has enjoyed the well-documented benefits of good looks is in a situation in which she's disadvantaged by them.

"Research has demonstrated time and again that there are tremendous social and economic benefits to being attractive," University of Pennsylvania professor Ingrid Olson said last year in reporting the results of a study.

One study shows that men and women who aren't good-looking typically make 10 percent to 20 percent - wow! - less than those who are considered comely.

"Attractive people are paid more, are judged more intelligent and" - case in point - "will receive more attention in most facets of life."

I, for one, am glad for a crime that requires nothing of me and in which I'm not complicit.

There are no guns involved, so there's no legislation to lobby for, no larger issue to lament.

And while you can argue that our country's materialism and overvaluation of beauty is to blame, the fact is that most of us don't commit crimes and betray our friends because of it.

And there's little any of us can do individually to change our culture's values, except in the choices we make in our own lives. So, it's guilt-free voyeurism.

The fact is, so long as there are warped and greedy people, there will be the likes of "Bonnie and Clyde."

And so long as Bonnie has big boobs and a beautiful face, the story will have endless legs. *

E-mail porterj@phillynews.com or call 215-854-5850. For recent columns: