Strange word. Distorted views of reality?

But – what is reality? My view or yours? Is something distorted because it doesn’t fit with the norm? And again, who is to say what is the norm?

Extract from my computer dictionary:
distort |disˈtôrt|
verb [ trans. ]
pull or twist out of shape : a grimace distorted her fine mouth | [as adj. ] ( distorted) his face was distorted with rage.
• [ intrans. ] become twisted out of shape : the pipe will distort as you bend it.
• figurative give a misleading or false account or impression of : many factors can distort the results | [as adj. ] ( distorted) his report gives a distorted view of the meeting.

The last definition there is the one that triggered off these musings.

In fact, it reminded me of a report I once wrote for peers/colleagues about improving our public relations within the organisation.

I knew exactly what they wanted to read, but that wasn’t what I wrote. I told them unless they were prepared to contribute to public relations, learn about presentation, identify good opportunities for PR, find out the details and the contacts – yup, you can feel them groaning and falling asleep already can’t you? – then any PR efforts would really be a waste of time.

My colleagues wanted to pin the responsibility for the PR of a large organisation onto one person so they could forget about it. It doesn’t work like that. Oh, and they wanted to tell them what to do, and how to do it.

I was the PR expert, but I was the lone voice. I was the minority (of one). Everyone else shared the same perspective – theirs was the majority view.

Which view is the norm there? Was my report distorted? Present it to a meeting of PR managers and my view would have been the norm. The prevailing view at the meeting of general managers would have been regarded as distorted if one lone general manager had voiced that view of how PR should be handled in front of a group of PR experts.

Another example. If you are reading this, you will know that I am vegetarian, feminist, left-wing, environmentalist, anti-consumerism, support animal rights including hunt sabs, anit-vivisection etc etc etc. That puts me in a fairly small minority group. Not the norm. But does that make my view – or my views – distorted?

I would say not. Obviously. At least I have made conscious decisions about all those topics, and informed myself sufficiently to take those decisions, and embrace those particular causes and beliefs.

What about the more literal meaning? To be twisted out of shape? You would describe a windblown tree as distorted when it grows at an angle, permanently gusted by strong winds from one direction. For that tree, in its own environment, that shape is natural. But we would describe it as distorted because most trees grow straight up.

See where I’m coming from? ‘Distorted’ is a judgmental word carrying negative implications that something has changed and is no longer what it should be, or figuratively, that it isn’t what is expected or wanted. To me, it places far too much emphasis on complying with the prevailing world view. Which, as we all know, is invariably wrong.

However, some light relief. For those of you who don’t know, ‘distorted’ is the WordPress photochallenge word of the week. Pix & Kards posted some fascinating images of distorted photos, link to the software is on her blog, and Vics Pics also posted some great photos using the same software.

Naturally being a) cantankerous and wanting to do something different and b) being lazy, I opted for using the Arcsoft programme that came with my Canon.

I always wondered why on earth they included these strange special effects but it was clearly for the one week in eternity when WordPress would use the word distorted for the photochallenge of the week.

Here’s the original photo that I chose to use, mainly for the contrast between the light purple and the dark foliage.

Solitary marguerite opening up to the sun

The first three shape changes make the flower look as though it is opening right out. The last two are the motion effects, where the shape is lost. And finally I did succomb to trying Amazing Circles after all, which gives a totally different effect.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


About roughseasinthemed

I write about my life as an English person living in Spain and Gibraltar, on Roughseas, subjects range from politics and current developments in Gib to book reviews, cooking and getting on with life. My views and thoughts on a variety of topics - depending on my mood of the day - can be found over on Clouds. A few pix are over on Everypic - although it is not a photoblog. And of course my dog had his own blog, but most of you knew that anyway. Pippadogblog etc
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10 Responses to Distorted

  1. Vicky says:

    I love the slideshow effect, it works SOooo well with your image, lessons needed please teacher 🙂
    You’re so right, what looks right to one person can be completely distorted to another, as always, one persons normality is another persons eccentricity.


    • Thanks Vicky.

      The slideshow effect is amazingly easy. Just upload your pix and if you want them in the post as well, insert them, but if you don’t, just upload as many as you want and then down the bottom it says click on gallery or slideshow. Click on that and you can either have them in ascending or descending order, and you can still edit from within that, if say you have forgotten a caption. And you can alter a caption within the slideshow (not sure that is an intentional effect but it works). Check out my original pic, and then if you look at it on the slideshow, I have added those words to the main caption for that photo at the start of the slideshow.

      It’s a neat add-on with WP I think. I tried all those photos on the blog and wasn’t happy with it. I was going to use the slideshow anyway because I thought it would work (a bit like the cars) because of the pix being similar, but changing slightly. Looks too static with flat photos, but the slideshow gave it the right idea of movement. Uf! I need a nap after all that theory and woffle.

      I’m sure you’ll sort it straightaway but if you have any Qs, ask away.

      I couldn’t resist writing about ‘distorted’. I quite like taking the photochallenge thing and making it into a written post as well as a pic. Anyway I nicked the pic idea from chris and you 😀 (Check out dailypost.wordpress.com if you want to join the photo thing each week).


  2. pix & kardz says:

    I like the notion of not necessarily having a majority-held position and still having a stance worth taking. If everyone adhered to the status quo, we would still be living on a flat earth with a sun that revolves around us.
    Cool slideshow. I appear to have the same software, it came with my first digital camera. Never even thought about it. 🙂
    Anyhow – thank you for the pingback!


    • Just because more people have one point of view (if they even have one, rather than just follow the loudest voice), doesn’t mean it is a) the only one or b) morally, ethically, or professionally ‘right’, or c) a reason to exclude or put down a minority view (to which add, religion, culture, beliefs, etc etc)

      I use Arcsoft all the time for my limited photo tidying (cropping, image downsizing thanks to your reminder, ©, and if nec, slight adjustments eg rotation) – it serves. And if I want to be de-sainted, I have good friends 😀

      You’re welcome on the pingback, as the photos were totally inspired by your original post.


  3. Pingback: “Weekly Photo Challenge: Distorted” | It is a Strange Life…

  4. Thanks to Strange Life for the pingback – and for any Brits reading this, you may want to check out their blog 🙂


  5. Kyanite Blue says:

    Mmmm, distorted to me can mean lots of conflicting angles!

    Like – You & I differ on our view on lots of things.
    Do we distort the facts to validate our cause?
    Sorry, it’s a bad day, I’m not coherant


    • Yes, you are coherent. At least as much as I am 😀
      I think that is a valid view of ‘distorted’. My take was that I don’t like the negative connotations around the word.
      Distortion of the facts, skewed presentation, selective choices are all different sides of the same coin.


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