"Marty Peretz, a former editor and owner of the New Republic, insists that commas must always come in pairs. He once made his staff count the commas in an entire issue of the magazine, telling them that the number had better come out even. (The incident, which is not fiction, was made famous in the film "Shattered Glass".) (...)

Mr Carey quotes Gertrude Stein: "A comma does nothing but make easy a thing that if you like it enough is easy enough without the comma." Not quite true: commas clean up many things that would be a mess for the reader without them. But few comma-rules are absolute. Don't trust anyone who tells you otherwise."