It illustrates how ambiguity arises without a serial comma. While the ridiculous nature of the comic is effective in showing the importance of the Oxford comma, it also has the unintended effect of showing why it is not always considered imperative. The comic seems to imply that if you do not employ the use of the Oxford comma that you are some kind of imbecile that talks to their toast; However, you might start to wonder why it is that, in all of your years of telling people about your breakfast, no one has ever assumed that you might be talking to your toast. The reason is that this illustration does not factor in the use of context to derive meaning. If you told somebody that you had “eggs, toast and orange juice” for breakfast and they thought that you were talking to your toast, you would think that they are fucking clueless because there is probably no precedent for that scenario– that is part of the established context. If there is a precedent for you talking to toast, that is a completely different issue that we will not explore here. However, you are not in university to write about your breakfast; you are here to write the opinions of your professors back to them concisely, professionally, and according to the proper format *cough* I mean, you are here to expand your educational horizons while preparing to enter the workforce or something. Anyways, sometimes relying on context to be understood will not be good enough especially in academic writing. I will give you a less absurd example than the toast and orange juice:
If you write “Introducing my research partners, Allen and my friend.” It is not clear whether or not Allen and your friend helped you with research or they are simply hanging out with your research partners. In this case, an Oxford comma would clear up the confusion.
Enter Oxford comma.
Now, all three objects are distinct. You are clearly understood. Life is good. But wait, there is more! If you write, “Introducing my research partners, Allen, and Bob.” An oxford comma is being used but it is not clear if there are more than three people or only two. What the fuck Grammar? Please stop.
None of this even takes into account situations where ambiguity is intentional. Irony is an example of this and is an important tool in satirical literature. Note that there are many ways to create clever ambiguities in writing that have nothing to do with the Oxford comma, I simply want to illustrate that ambiguity has a place in writing.
Now, it seems that I am flip-flopping back and forth on the merits of the Oxford comma, however, the point that I am trying to make is not that you either should or should not use it. I am not concerned with that. My only advice there is that if your professor tells you to use it, for the love of Dog, use it. My point is that people need to stop being intellectual elitist knobs about it all. It is not the Lord’s grammar and the only people that it impresses are those that are already part of the whole inane circle-jerk.