In this day and age, the playing field in life is much fairer than it ever was before. In the West at least, people of all races, genders and backgrounds can vote, voice their opinion, and participate in public life. Everyone can get a good education, and in many Western countries, there is a strong social safety net. Even the USA is moving in that direction under Obama. More recently, the internet has opened up opportunities for many independent authors and musicians, as well as numerous business startups.
But look closer, and you will see it's not quite fair yet. Money and its associated promotion is still king in almost every area of life. The less than spectacular can rise up above the genuinely deserving with enough financial backing, and this distorted cultural-economic landscape continues to dominate our collective popular cultural imagination. If you don't 'make it very big' in this world, 99% of the time it's none of your fault, and if you make it very big in this world, 90% or more of the time it's probably because of one or more unfair advantages.
But don't despair. The revolution has just begun. The unfair system is beginning to be seen for what it is. That's why indie musicians have become increasingly respectable, and indie authors are rising up too, just behind them. In the age of unlimited choice and unlimited opportunities, there is a chance for people to connect with cultural icons with genuinely interesting ideas and sincerely held values, and those propped up by money pretending to be cool whilst only caring about making more money will not last very long before they are rejected. And for this, the world will become a better place.