From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - View original article
|This article needs additional citations for verification. (March 2010)|
|This article includes a list of references, related reading or external links, but its sources remain unclear because it lacks inline citations. (April 2013)|
Mopery is a vague, informal, and usually humorous name for minor offenses. The word is based on the verb to mope, which originally meant “to wander aimlessly”; it only later acquired the overtones of "bored and depressed". The word mope appears to have first been used in the 16th century, and appears in Shakespeare's works.
In 1970, in Columbus, Ohio, US, mopery was defined as “loitering while walking, or walking down the street with no clear destination or purpose”, and was used by police to stop and interview counterculture "hippies" who were regarded as unsavory. Some of those arrested were aggressively prosecuted by public prosecutor Karl T. Chrastan. In discussions of law, mopery is used as a placeholder name to mean some crime whose nature is not important to the problem at hand. This is sometimes expanded to "mopery with intent to creep" or "mopery with intent to gawk".
The word mopery has been used by authors Thomas Pynchon (Gravity's Rainbow) and Dashiell Hammett (The Thin Man), among others, for whom it is usually a comic accent. In Catch 22 (Joseph Heller, 1961), the mildly rebellious Cadet Clevinger is court-martialed by three angry officers, who accuse him of “breaking ranks while in formation, felonious assault, indiscriminate behavior, mopery, high treason, provoking, being a smart-guy, listening to classical music, and so on”. Similarly, in the 1984 nouveau réalisme film, Revenge of the Nerds, mopery is defined as "exposing oneself to a blind person."