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Keeping It Up With The Joneses Jab Comix

The phrase originates with the comic strip Keeping Up with the Joneses, created by Arthur R. "Pop" Momand in 1913. The strip ran until 1940 in The New York World and various other newspapers. The strip depicts the social climbing McGinis family, who struggle to "keep up" with their neighbors, the Joneses of the title. The Joneses were unseen characters throughout the strip's run, often spoken of but never shown. The idiom keeping up with the Joneses has remained popular long after the strip's end.[1][2][3][4][5]

Keeping It Up With The Joneses Jab Comix

An alternative explanation is that the Joneses of the saying refer to the wealthy family of Edith Wharton's father, the Joneses.[7] The Joneses were a prominent New York family with substantial interests in Chemical Bank as a result of marrying the daughters of the bank's founder, John Mason.[8] The Joneses and other rich New Yorkers began to build country villas in the Hudson Valley around Rhinecliff and Rhinebeck, which had belonged to the Livingstons, another prominent New York family to whom the Joneses were related. The houses became grander and grander. In 1853, Elizabeth Schermerhorn Jones built a 24-room gothic villa called Wyndcliffe described by Henry Winthrop Sargent in 1859 as being very fine in the style of a Scottish castle, but by Edith Wharton, Elizabeth's niece, as a gloomy monstrosity.[9] The villa reportedly spurred more building, including a house by William B. Astor (married to a Jones cousin), a phenomenon later described as "keeping up with the Joneses". The phrase is also associated with another of Edith Wharton's aunts, Mary Mason Jones, who built a large mansion at Fifth Avenue and 57th Street, then undeveloped. Wharton portrays her affectionately in The Age of Innocence as Mrs. Manson Mingott, "calmly waiting for fashion to flow north".

The philosophy of "keeping up with the Joneses" has widespread effects on some societies. According to this philosophy, conspicuous consumption occurs when people care about their standard of living and its appearance in relation to their peers.[10]

In the United Kingdom, when Princess Margaret married the fashionable photographer Anthony Armstrong-Jones in 1960, Wallis Simpson allegedly said: "At least we're keeping up with the Armstrong-Joneses".[15]

Jones in the Fast Lane is a life simulation videogame developed and published by Sierra Entertainment in 1990. The game's name and goals are a play on the concept of keeping up with the Joneses.

There was no craftier or crookeder Director in the habitable world. Pearl enjoyed it. She so warmly and modestly assured Ross McGurk of the merits of Gottlieb and of her timorous devotion to him, she so purred to the flattery of Rippleton Holabird, she so blandly answered the hoarse hostility of Terry Wickett by keeping him from getting materials for his work, that the Institute reeled with intrigue.


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