Stanley M. Fried
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Stereotypes play in our minds; vague as the bogey-man and as real as anything that can ever be imagined. Stereotypes of what one should be, how one should act: of others. Preconceptions conjured from the influence of something: heard, told, taught; imposed on what is perceived. The stereotype conditions one's mind to accept only what will fit within its own confines; acting as a filter, it allows only that information which fits through it to come into the mind. The rest is discarded, thrown away as being useless, irrelevant, justified as being an exception to the rule.

Looking at someone but not seeing them. Looking at someone but seeing what one thinks should be there, what one has been taught to think should be there. The hoped for becomes all that is acknowledged.

It becomes the bogey-man. All of our childhood fears and intrigues. "He's gonna getchya", whomever that may be ... whatever that may mean ... "He's gonna getchya and you don't want that to happen" ... whatever it is he might do. The mind imagines and in imagining conjures a tangle of ideas that don't jibe, don't make sense, and that tangle becoming something bad, something wrong, something evil to avoid and to shun. "Mustn't have thoughts like that. Who knows where it might lead?" And indeed, who does know? Only the darkest recesses of one's own mind where fears can be imagined into a seemingly real existence.

That's when the bogey-man comes. He stares with his hideous face. And he reaches out with his oversized withered hands. And he breathes with a breath that stinks worse than anything. This bogey-man that comes to life in the mind.

©1990 - Stanley M. Fried



bogey-man was performed in Freedom and Other Myths at Sushi Performance Gallery in San Diego, California, 1990.

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