So much money had flooded the system that twenty-six-year-olds who thought Andrew Wyeth was a furniture company and Winslow Homer a cartoon character were able to dress like Hollywood aristocracy. Oh, misanthropy and sourness. Gary wanted to enjoy being a man of wealth and leisure but the country was making it none to easy. All around him millions of newly minted millionaires were engaged in the identical pursuit of feeling extraordinary—of buying the perfect Victorian, of skiing the virgin slope, of knowing the chef personally, of locating the beach that had no footprints. There were further tens of millions of young Americans who didn’t have money but were nonetheless chasing the perfect cool. And meanwhile the sad truth was that not everyone could be extraordinary, not everyone could be extremely cool. Because whom would this leave to be ordinary? Who would perform the thankless work of being comparatively uncool?
from The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen