keeping up with the Joneses

Discuss word origins and meanings.
Post Reply

keeping up with the Joneses

Post by Archived Topic » Fri Nov 19, 2004 3:10 pm

Hello i heard this phrase the other day in my sociology theory class i know it means to keep up with the neighbors and their riches but i would like to know it's origins and where the phrase was coined
Submitted by Oscar Rodriguez (Buffalo - U.S.A.)
ACCESS_POST_ACTIONS
Signature: Topic imported and archived

keeping up with the Joneses

Post by Archived Reply » Fri Nov 19, 2004 3:25 pm

Oscar, This is usually expressed as KEEPING UP WITH THE JONESES and means attempting to live in the style of one’s more affluent neighbors or acquaintances or striving not to be outdone by them. It was originally the title of a comic strip by cartoonist Arthur R. (‘Pop’) Momand which ran in the New York Globe and other newspapers from 1913 until 1931. Momand based the series on his own experiences as a newly wed young artist living in an affluent New York suburb on a limited salary. After living “far beyond our means in our endeavor to keep up with the well-to-do class,” the Momands finally saw the light and moved to Manhattan where they rented a cheap apartment and ‘Pop’ Momands used this harrowing experience to create his once immensely popular ‘Keeping Up With the Joneses’ comic strip. He originally thought of calling the strip ‘Keeping Up With the Smiths,’ but “finally decided on ‘Keeping Up With the Joneses’ as being more euphonious.” His creation ran in American Newspapers for 28 years and appeared in book form, movie, and musical-comedy form, giving the expression the wide popularity that it still has today.
<1913 “Today most of us live in automobilia, where the automocracy is everlastingly trying to ‘KEEP UP WITH THE JONESES.’”— (Comic-strip title) ‘Keeping up with the Joneses—by Pop.’ by A. R. Momand in ‘New York Globe,’ 1 April, page 16/3 and in ‘American Speech,’ 1926, I. page 281>

<1933 “This tendency to personify by the use of a familiar name is due to the same psychology which describes the social ambitions of the suburbs as ‘KEEPING UP WITH THE JONESES.”—‘Transactions of the Philosophical Society,’ page 94>

<1952 “He could not be thankful enough that he did not have a nagging wife, one who insisted on making a show, on ‘KEEPING UP WITH THE JONESES, as people were beginning to say.”—‘Larry Vincent’ (1953) by F. P. Keyes, xxi. page 284>
(Facts on File Encyclopedia of Word and Phrase Origins, Fact on File Dictionary of Clichés, Morris Dictionary of Word and Phrase Origins)
____________________

Ken G – August 9, 2004
Reply from Ken Greenwald (Fort Collins, CO - U.S.A.)
ACCESS_POST_ACTIONS
Signature: Reply imported and archived

keeping up with the Joneses

Post by Archived Reply » Fri Nov 19, 2004 3:39 pm

To my mind, the fact that Arthur Momand was undecided for a while about whether to select 'Joneses' or 'Smiths' for the title of his cartoon strip (both being among the commonest of Anglo-Saxon surnames) underscores the banality of the ambition to emulate the social or material achievements of such undistinguished people.

It would be far more impressive to succeed in 'keeping up with the Einsteins' or 'keeping up with the da Vincis'.

This is especially so at the present time, when there are so many in the USA who seem absolutely determined to dumb down with the Bushes and their assorted hangers-on. As Oscar Wilde might possibly have said had he been just a tad sharper, mediocrity is the homage that stupidity pays to ambition.
Reply from Erik Kowal ( - England)
ACCESS_POST_ACTIONS
Signature: Reply imported and archived

keeping up with the Joneses

Post by Archived Reply » Fri Nov 19, 2004 3:53 pm

That sounds deep, Erik - but I've never heard of tad sharpers. Is there no call for them nowadays?
Reply from Edwin Ashworth (Oldham - England)
ACCESS_POST_ACTIONS
Signature: Reply imported and archived

keeping up with the Joneses

Post by Archived Reply » Fri Nov 19, 2004 4:08 pm

Why, thank you Edwin. I have found that the ladies do appreciate depth.

And since you're kind enough to ask, I employ a tad sharper whenever I have the smidgeon keener round. They really make a great team!
Reply from Erik Kowal ( - England)
ACCESS_POST_ACTIONS
Signature: Reply imported and archived

keeping up with the Joneses

Post by Archived Reply » Fri Nov 19, 2004 4:22 pm

Keep quiet about it then Erik, or Real Madrid will sign them.
Reply from Edwin Ashworth (Oldham - England)
ACCESS_POST_ACTIONS
Signature: Reply imported and archived

keeping up with the Joneses

Post by Archived Reply » Fri Nov 19, 2004 4:37 pm

In that case, I would use my counter feet to try and foil them.
Reply from Erik Kowal ( - England)
ACCESS_POST_ACTIONS
Signature: Reply imported and archived

ACCESS_END_OF_TOPIC
Post Reply