Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Keeping up with the Joneses

Keeping up the with the Joneses is a fun idiom meaning to be status conscious and insecure about your material wealth and appearance in relation to your neighbours. So, if they changed their curtains, you would do the same; if they bought a new car, yours would have to be updated and of course, it's never ending.

Unlike a lot of idioms, Keeping up with the Joneses has a clear beginning and was to my surprise, of American origin. It was the creation of cartoonist Pop Momand and first appeared in 1913. The cartoon strip ran in American newspapers until 1931. Whilst the Joneses were often referred to by the family featured in the cartoon, they were never seen.

In the same way that Walt Disney originally intended to call Mickey Mouse, Mortimer, Momand considered 'Keeping up with the Smiths'. I'm glad he changed his mind. The Joneses sound more interesting and I'm sure they are much harder to keep up with.

It has resulted in a lot of comedy programmes on the theme of stutus and snpbbery and one of the best love in Britain is keeping up appearances which some other countries broadcast as Hyacinth.

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