So I have no illusions of being good at grammar, spelling, coherent communication, etc.
However, there is one formal point of grammar about which I think:
1) I'm right with a rightness that is like unto a moral absolute.
2) anyone who disagrees with me is dead wrong. And potentially a communist.
The point in question is the use of commas in a list.
I was always taught in school that when constructing a list separated by commas, that no comma was needed between the second to last item and the "and" that connects it to the last item.
For example, "Justin is awesome, strikingly handsome, erudite and humble without equal."
now there are a LOT of things wrong with that sentence, but I believe the comma use is NOT among their number.
Now before you English majors rise up in revolt, I understand that what seems to be the rest of the civilized world was taught something different. I won't speculate on ythe dastardly purposes for which your instructors felt they needed to pervert logic and have at the English language with the grammatical equivalent of a rakishly wielded cudgel. But for whatever their nefarious purposes, you were taught that the proper end of the example sentence should be as follows:
"...erudite, and humble without equal."
Note the presence of a comma after erudite. In seeming defiance of the "and" that follows it. Now I have never been one to defend any action or idea simply because it was what I was taught to think of as right. An action or idea is right or wrong (or in this case, a challenge to the fundamental liberties we hold dear..) on its own merits.
Toward that point, I offer the following rationale towards the case of omitting the final comma.
1) The commas serve as placeholders for the word "and". So instead of saying "Joe will eat carrots and lettuce and meat and cake", we place commas in the position of the first three "and"s. Therefore:
-"Joe will eat carrots, lettuce, meat and cake." translates to:
-"Joe will eat carrots (and) lettuce (and) meat and cake."
Notice that the last "and" is kept without comma.
2) using a comma before the last "and" is therefore redundant. In the example above, if we were to replace all the commas with "and", including a comma placed before the final "and", we would have redundant "and"s.
-"Joe will eat carrots, lettuce, meat, and cake" translates to
-"Joe will eat carrots (and) lettuce (and) meat (and) and cake."
(notice that the last comma duplicates the purpose of the "and" atthe end of the sentence)
Does this really matter? Well probably not. However, given the righteous indignation I get any time I broach this subject with any of you of the opposing camp, I thought I should make the case:)
As shown, the use of the final comma is redundant. I might also suggest it speaks to a wide-spread international plot against the english language, but that's somewhat harder to support.
All I can say is, "love your country, love freedom and love the proper use of commas in a list."
Anyone who disagrees is obviously on the payroll of the comma industry.