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Smiling selfies at Manhattan blast site anger some

Technically Incorrect: A photograph of seven women using a selfie stick to take pictures near the site of last week's East Village explosion causes quite a stir. And it's not the only smiling selfie from the scene.

Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that's taken over our lives.


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Was this really necessary? Screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

Please feel free to be sickened, indifferent, appalled or even depressed. But please don't say you're surprised.

An explosion in Manhattan's East Village on Thursday left more than 20 people injured and two still missing. Work by firefighters, putting out the last stubborn bits of the blaze and digging through the rubble, continued into Saturday. The effort is, for some people, an event.

It's like a concert or a party. So you should definitely make sure you can tell people that you were there.

Seven women who posed for a selfie -- taken with the help of a selfie stick -- decided to commemorate the occasion with a heartfelt modern memento. They smiled in the middle of the street as behind them rescuers searched for more victims.

The photograph was posted to the Twitter feed of EventsPhotoNYC. It also appeared on the local news blog EV Grieve. Today it graces the front page of the New York Post with the headline: "Village Idiots."

It's not immediately clear who these women are and whether they're now aware of the dubious nature of their photography.

The Post did, however, find other blast site selfie-snappers. One, named Jeanie, reportedly posted her smiling selfie with the hashtags #beingtourists and #weresocreepy. She told the Post her art was "satire."

The New York Daily News offered an Instagram selfie (since removed) taken by a woman named Christina. She is smiling and making the sign of victory. Some might wonder whether this was the victory over good taste and humanity.

Let's return, though, to the lack of surprise. These people may not even have stopped and thought about anything other than taking their selfies and posting them the very soonest. They were there and you weren't, so they needed to tell you. The benefit? Your admiration, of course.

This isn't exactly the first time that humans have thought it best to record themselves in solemn places being slightly slimy. You surely must remember Selfies at Funerals. Even world leaders partook of that spirit at Nelson Mandela's memorial service.

Now every occasion has been co-opted as a photo op. Every disaster, every tragedy, every newsworthy event is an opportunity for some smiling self-promotion.

Meanwhile, according to the New York Post, 23-year-old Nicholas Figueroa and 27-year-old Moises Locon are still missing.