City Journal Winter 2016

Current Issue:

Winter 2016
Table of Contents
Tablet Editions
Click to visit City Journal California

Readers’ Comments

Claire Berlinski
Dominican Republic or Bust « Back to Story

View Comments (29)

Add New Comment:

To send your message, please enter the words you see in the distorted image below, in order and separated by a space, and click "Submit." If you cannot read the words below, please click here to receive a new challenge.

Comments will appear online. Please do not submit comments containing advertising or obscene language. Comments containing certain content, such as URLs, may not appear online until they have been reviewed by a moderator.

Showing 29 Comment(s) Subscribe by RSS
Ms Berlinski, if I may call you that .. take your eyes off the breasts and cleavage for a moment. Talk to Dominican women living in the Dominican Republic. They make up about 50% of the population. Listen carefully to what they have to tell you. Discover the crushing social and economic burdens they must bear in a predominantly male-dominated society. Then talk to the men that these women have helped raise. Learn about the devastating effects of economic poverty on the Dominican population. Learn about the relationship between the rapidly changing international economic order and it's impact on an agricultural and tourist dependent economy. Learn about the island ecosystem and how it is being impacted by the pressures of a rapidly expanding population and the demands of tourism. You will then have one of the "keys" to understanding the Dominican Republic. OK?
I like your writing style, though I wouldn’t use the word “accurate” to describe this piece. "The distinction between eloquence and bullshit is a fine one."
Also, you sound bitter...
Wow, this is one of the worst travel stories I've ever read.
Aside from being grossly ignorant, you have your facts wrong. I counted about 9 factual errors. That's pretty good, considering the length. The funniest one is that Columbus first landed in Santo Domingo. He first landed in what is present day Haiti. Spaniards didn't come to Santo Domingo until 1496. Read much?
Ingrid & Alex Gil .. finally somebody can see through the mountain of trash that Claire Berlinski has dumped in .. the dumbest thing about this article is the opening statement about the "key to understanding the Dominican Republic ... ". She then launches into an insulting tirade that compares their President to Jennifer Lopez. Puhleeeeez!! Claire, the key to understanding any nation is to go and live there day-in and day-out with the people of the country you are trying to describe. Embed yourself with their families. Share their happiness and misery. Use common sense. Then begin learning and writing. Never insult their head-of-state. Dont act like a jerk. Comprende?
This seems to come out of the worst excesses of colonialist travel literature. How well read do you have to be really to avoid these amateurish mistakes of perception?
Your writings is equivalent to someone visiting Las Vegas and coming back to describe the US as a whole completely ludacrist.
Your writings is equivalent to someone visiting Las Vegas and coming back to describe the US as a whole completely ludacrist.
I think basically you saw what you wanted to see. I was there 2 years ago and saw none of what you describe. You may have been staying in some raunchy part of town. If you get out of the tourist areas you might actually see what the country is really about. A lot of family just strugling to get by. Many people living in the rural areas with dirt floors growing their own food and selling it by the road ways. Many people doing all they can to survive. What you describe does not represent the country as a whole. You obviously did not go far into the country. Next time go visit the inner country and come back and write about that.
Columbus did land first in an island he called San Salvador and from there he went to Cuba naming the island Juana.
"We go around several times before I convince them that iced coffee really is just the product of ice and coffee"

I've actually had the same experience a few times in *American* restaurants...
Cliff .. you are right about Columbus not making his first landing in Santo Domingo. The landing place could have been near Puerto Plata in the north. Columbus soon discovered that he was not the first one to "discover" the Americas. The indigenous Tainos had settled and built a thriving civilization on the island of Hispaniola long before he was even a gleam in his father's eye. However, historians still maintain that Columbus "discovered America". When will this kind of rampant and arrogant ignorance come to an end?
Columbus did not land at Santo Domingo first. I believe it was somewhere in the Bahamas.
Michael .. I hope nothing bad ever happens to Claire. At least not in the Dominican Republic. However, it is hard to compare this issue to a common crime such as human trafficking. Insulting a head-of-state is a political crime that may not be resolved by "cash-under-the-table". Furthermore, it is not uncommon for arrested individuals to mysteriously die while in custody. "Extra-Judicial" murder it is called. That issue was taken up by the OAS 10 years ago, but it is still common. That's when you are punished by death before your case is every heard in a case. It seems to me, Michael, that like Claire, you know very little about the Dominican Republic. You just cling to whatever nonsense you see published in this or that magazine. Would you like to come down here and try insulting their head of state? Just to see what happens? Perhaps Claire might try bailing you out before it's too late.

Claire would never spend seven years in a Dom Rep jail. We would raise the money to pay off some Dom Reptilian thug to spring her. Where there are men who will sell girls for money, there are men who will release women for money.
CLAIRE BERLINSKI .. likening the Dominican to Jennifer Lopez with Ricky Martin as Secretary of the interior is not a very smart thing to write if you intend to someday return to the Dominican Republic. I am not sure you could pull these kinds of derogatory stunts in Turkey either. Just remember one thing. Dominican jails are tough places to be if you get picked up for insulting their leaders. You could spend 7 years in a Dominican jail before your case is heard by a Dominican "Fiscal". I would strongly urge you to refrain from making such reckless statements. Furthermore, the current President is the best that the Dominican Republic has ever had. It is therefore terribly unfair to direct such an insult at the distinguished gentleman. Please avoid such reckless remarks if you wish to return to the Dominican Republic in the future.
Norman Sayles .. excuse me for rudely interrupting, but I recall that Charlie Rangel's district is Harlem and not the South Bronx. Harlem with Palm trees, right? The Dominican Republic is the perfect place if you are tough and adventurous. It is definitely not for the faint-of-heart. Of course, you could always lock yourself within the well guarded and sanitized premises of your favorite beach resort. Eat the same boring meal day after day. See the same boring people day after day. No different from the other ones littering the Caribbean, Mediterranean, Aegean and other places.
I want to go!!!!!
Great article! I like the way of thinking explained on the example of coffee and ice, that's very illustrative :))
Charlie Rangel bought into the resort community of Punta Cana. The realities of life in the Dominican Republic are far removed from the idyllic settings found in beach resort areas where Charlie bought his house. Those are places that most Dominicans cannot afford to even visit, let alone purchase property.
crizzyboo .. How about I go and live someplace else? Did I sound like I was complaining or do you have a problem with written English? Childhood dyslexia creeping into old age? How about I come and live with you crizzyboo? Are you in a rancid ghetto that I might possibly take a liking to? I like smelly places. I like 9-hour blackouts. I like having my house broken into every other week. I never said I do not like the Dominican Republic. I was merely trying to paint a more complete picture of the Dominican Republic in contrast to Claire's point of view.
And the point here is ...... ?
Funny and effective..........a great sense of the beauty and warts of the country.
To SANG: How about if you go live someplace else then?
The negtive assesment by the two-year resident of S.D. makes it sound like the right place for Rangel to live; South Bronx with palm trees.
Even without comparing S.D to Haiti, it sounds like a tropical pardise, give or take a few mortal sins.
I wish so much that I could create such beauty through written words. I read Claire's work and I have joy from the reading of such work, and I have jealousy that I can only admire the product.
There must be something nice about the Dominican Republic because Charlie Rangel used some of the money he saved from not paying taxes to buy a place there. ;)
Breasts everywhere huh? I have been here for 2 years and never noticed anything. Maybe I am too used to seeing them. How about grossly obese people who can barely walk, next to starving beggars on Avenida Duarte? How about the kidnappings for ransom? How about the overwhelming odor of rotting trash and sewage practically everywhere? How about an epidemic of corruption at each and every level of Dominican society? How about a sparkling subway system next to streets with large potholes? How about overflowing public hospitals where patients bring their own medicines and bandages? How about the pervasive stench of diesel and unburnt gasonline from cars and trucks stuck in traffic for hours? How about streets that are too dangerous to cross due to heavy traffic? I guess beauty must be in the eyes of the beholder huh?
Thank you Claire for your insight. I used to be a tvl agt and when I mentioned the Dominican Rapublic's fantastic resort deals they would roll their eyes. Maybe just as well. Its what you perceive that trips you up.