Nightclubs: Hipitaph

The Beat Generation has finally got what it always wanted—lost. Essentially the products of a public-relations campaign carried on by amateur flacks in stovepipe slacks, the untalented beats picked their own title and by noisy promotion tried to associate themselves with the talented expatriates of the '20s whom Gertrude Stein named the Lost Generation. With the help of eager squares, including some journalists, the beats even styled themselves a Movement—but it was one of the great stationary movements of all time, since nothing budges that is fueled by pretension and pot.

Now, after less than four...

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