As a lifelong artist (now semi-retired), am not unfamiliar with the notion of “cultural standards”, but dunno that I agree it’s just about the “status quo”. Everything has some kinda “limits”. Unless you’re saying that somehow you don’t have any minimal “standards” of your own? Or perhaps it’s just our threshhold for “anarchy” is different. Though the POV of ‘age’ does make one a bit more cynical about any ‘Kumbaya’ tendencies. ;-D
But if you wanna press the ‘analogy’, there are indeed lotsa ‘beaters’ and even some ‘diamonds in the rough’ of all kinds. Although I’d probably differentiate between the kind that are not simply a reflection of money (or the lack thereof), and they still manage to have some other value, even if just ‘soul’. And humble though they may be, they’re obviously still a positive and even creative expression of their owner.
While on the other hand, there also the sadsack kinda beaters, always full of trash, that are more like a rolling sign of someone who just doesn’t care anymore. Though hopefully Wallace fans aren’t being attracted too much by that kind (despite the influence of the “status quo”)?!
Otherwise, it’s just not the first place I’d look to seek “wisdom” (let alone “meaning and awareness”). But in any case, if folks still think they find ‘value’ there somewhere, that’s fine, and you’re right, (sometimes) lowly oysters can create pearls.