* Welcome to The Big Jewel, where we are always topical and up-to-the-minute. Except when we run an Oscars-related piece a month after the ceremony. Then we are being deep and reflective. This week's opus is the first we have published by Burke Hilsabeck, as well as our first Donald Barthelme parody. Pioneers! O Pioneers!

Donald Barthelme Accepts An Oscar In The Style Of “The Glass Mountain”

By: Burke Hilsabeck

1. Wow.

2. I am very happy — and surprised — to be at this podium.

3. In my right hand, I hold aloft my golden statue for the world to see.

4. When you grow up in Texas and become an important American literary figure, it is difficult to imagine being here with all of the beautiful people on ABC.

5. Still, it happened to Larry McMurtry.

6. And now it is happening to me.

7. Although I am not as agile as Cuba Gooding, Jr., or even Philip Seymour Hoffman, please believe me when I say that, in my heart, I am doing crazy and exuberant things on this stage.

8. This podium stands at the front of an auditorium full of interesting and engaging faces.

9. These faces are congratulating me for the wonderful work I have done.

10. Standing here, thinking about this, I finally understand just how interesting and engaging my own face truly is.

11. My wife understands my face.

12. The rest of the world now joins her in this understanding.

13. “In front of the lens, I am at the same time: the one I think I am, the one I want others to think I am, the one the photograph thinks I am, and the one he makes use of to exhibit his art.” (Barthes)

14. For this reason, I share this golden statue with my wife.

15. I did not do much to prepare for this.

16. Frankly, I thought the award would go to Forrest Whittaker.

17. I share this golden statue with you, Forrest Whittaker.

18. And you, Jeff Bridges.

19. Because my arm is growing tired, I transfer the golden statue to my left hand.

20. There, that’s better.

21. They don’t tell you just how heavy are these golden statues.

22. Their heaviness befits their overall cultural importance.

23. “It is not a new cryptography that we need, especially when it consists of replacing one cipher by another less intelligible, but a new diagnostics, a science that can determine the meaning of things for the life that surrounds them.” (Geertz)

24. I ask myself, do the strongest actors still need confirmation of their abilities expressed in the form of a humanoid totem?

25. Does the public still need to see projected images of things it cannot bear to hold in its own experience?

26. Yes, I say, yes, my answers to these questions are yes.

27. Anyways, what a long road!

28. Things did not look promising when we began filming The Balloon.

29. For instance, it was very difficult to find a big enough balloon.

30. Even the most courageous prop men grew withered of heart.

31. Also, the people of New York were not happy about us blocking what little sun they already had.

32. But the people at Lionsgate believed in us.

33. The other actors believed in us.

34. And I think I speak honestly when I say that the vast majority of midtown Manhattan really got into it.

35. In my left hand, I use my golden statue to gesture toward heaven.

36. Our particular balloon carried the weight of so many metaphors.

37. You might say that it carried the weight of all metaphors.

38. That our balloon carried the weight of all metaphors is paradoxical because, pretty much by definition, balloons are lighter than air.

39. If a balloon is not lighter than air, it loses its capacity to carry metaphors.

40. It “dies.”

41. Still, certain balloons have carried both people and metaphors before, and tonight they have carried me and my metaphor here to accept this award.

42. “The baffling fecundity of dead metaphor is even less awesome when one takes true measure of its contribution to the formation of concepts.” (Ricoeur)

43. My face will never lose its capacity for metaphor.

44. The same goes for all the beautiful faces in this bright auditorium.

45. “It was no Crash.”

46. “For me, personally, it was a four hour nap.”

47. I love your faces.

48. I love the movies.

49. I love love.

50. Please, do not mind the orchestra.

51. There are so many people to thank, people like Billy Crystal, Daniel Stern, and Bruno Kirby.

52. I have always loved City Slickers.

53. Not a lot of people know that about me.

54. There are a lot of things that people do not know about me and about the human condition more generally.

55. I also want to thank–

56. Can you hear me?

57. Because it is becoming difficult to hear myself over the violins.

58. Where was I oh yes the human condition more generally.

59. Believe me everyone when I say that I am brimming with humility, the kind of humility no orchestra can stop.

60. I mean that.

61. I would be amiss if I did not–

62. Really, it’s getting pretty loud up here.

63. I hear you maestro.

64. Thanks to the Academy for putting me here, thanks to my–

65. Seriously, can I get a minute?

66. Thanks to every one of the balloon wranglers because without you–

67. The loud and forcible removal of a body is a wish for a deeper silence.

68. A deeper silence is a sign of the implausible.