CHARITY HAS LONG BEEN used to camouflage the darkest of deeds. From Mafia kingpins bestowing "gifts" upon the Vatican to Hitler's "Toys for Aryan Tots" drives, evildoers routinely seek to cleanse their souls and burnish their images with the rare Good Deed, under the naive belief that a single humane gesture can compensate for a life of otherwise unadulterated evil.Which brings us to The Stranger, which this week devotes the majority of its pages to made-to-order pieces purchased during the 2005 Strangercrombie Holiday Auction. This auction, it must be said, managed to raise over $39,000 for the food-distributing hobo enablers at Northwest Harvest. But now we all pay the price. From the front cover, to the back comic, the paper you hold in your hands is the product of pure payola. That "rave" visual art review? Bought and paid for. That "rave" CD review? Bought and paid for. Every single one of this week's Stranger Suggests items? Bought and paid for, all without the slightest hint of compunction on the part of The Stranger, which brazenly advertises each and every one of the payola pieces with a price tag. Subtle.Not that I'm surprised at The Stranger's enthusiastic participation in breaching the most vital of journalistic tenets, the wall between commerce and content. Still, the paper's shameless engagement with payola shows where its true heart lies: with criminals. If any of the needy beneficiaries of this alleged act of charity have any righteousness left in them, they will spit out any and all food purchased with The Stranger's filthy money. (However, I am glad to see the front cover graced by an ad for Cirque du Soleil, which my granddaughter loves. I took her to see Whimsique, and her eyes sparkled with the magic of a thousand tomorrows.)