Positive Press for @ZOMGitsCriss

The Melbourne Leader newspaper in Australia has a brief-but-favorable article about Cristina Rad — better known to YouTube viewers at ZOMGitsCriss — in anticipation of her upcoming visit to the country:

“I have no friends who share my world views … as soon as something serious comes up in conversation I just cringe at the mentality around me,” said Rad…

“I hear people hating on other people just for being different — anybody not straight, not white, not a Christian, not a nationalist Romanian 100 percent. It’s not a place I like to be in.

“There were so many things I wanted to talk about that I couldn’t … so I started making videos.”

As well as “flagging/hating/trolling” on YouTube, Rad has had numerous threats to her safety and won’t reveal where she lives in Romania.

She admits “at first it (the backlash) was a bit scary” .

“But there are people like Maryam Namazie who is actively fighting against Islam. She is ex-Muslim and her name is out there, people know where she lives and she’s still safe walking the streets, so if somebody like that is not afraid why should I be?

“I’m nothing compared to her.”

Anyone who’s seen Cristina’s videos knows they’re effective, blunt, and unapologetic. When it comes to atheists who aren’t afraid to speak their minds and demands your attention, she’s one of the best.

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the chair of Foundation Beyond Belief and a high school math teacher in the suburbs of Chicago. He began writing the Friendly Atheist blog in 2006. His latest book is called The Young Atheist's Survival Guide.

  • http://twitter.com/TPRyan007 TPRyan

    Nice nod to Namazie. She’s an excellent activist, and one that a lot of atheists are unaware of. 

    • Great American Satan

      Seconded!  Maryam Namazie is rad.  Of course, the second people catch wind she’s a communist, some humorless pedant has to get out his soapbox and start talking about Stalin as if we’d never heard of him.  :-P
      As a bit of a commie myself, Maryam Namazie is my number one lady hero.

  • Anonymous

    She comes up with some of the most thought provoking stuff out there.

  • http://deathbytrolley.wordpress.com/ Ron Brown

    Question: I haven’t seen much by her, so I”ll ask: Is there anything particularly good about her videos or ideas? I mean, there are sooo many atheist bloggers and surely plenty of atheist YouTubers who, for the most part, say pretty similar things. Why is she special? Similarly, a few years back there was that GoGreen/Lacey girl who was making videos saying things that had been said by countless other atheists for years.

    Is there anything aside from the fact that these two are young, attractive females that say things that we agree with that has led them to rise to popularity based on saying things that have been said by so many others for years? I’m not saying that the things they have spoken of are wrong, that I disagree with them, that they’re not smart, etc. I’m just saying, if it wasn’t for the fact that they are good looking girls, is there any reason to believe that they would not be one of the many dime-a-dozen atheist bloggers (like me) and vloggers out there that (unfortunately) get effectively zero public recognition?

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=553145445 Gordon Duffy

      I guess if you watch on of her videos you will know if her style works for you. To me it is that she has a way with words that is serious and funny at the same time.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_FOE4PQIXZSTCQKXMJTMUAIBTSY RyanN

      No Ron, there isn’t. She’s just pretty and articulate and says the same things everyone else has said with a sexy accent. But YouTube is nothing if not an endless wasteland of echo chambers and self-love. Bunch of people with no credentials or special expertise repeating what they read in books or heard other people say on YouTube. That’s the world of vlogging… 

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=646819435 Hayley Stevens

        I’ve stood next to Criss and heard people tell her that she made a difference in their life and a difference to hundreds of others too. So you’re very wrong. There is more to Criss than a ‘sexy accent’.

        What a horrible, horrible thing to say to dismiss someone. You don’t need to be an expert to make a difference.

        • http://twitter.com/drunkenmadman Jason Brown

          Would it have been more diplomatic to use the term “telegenic”? Because Criss is, actually, quite telegenic and this is undeniably a factor in her success. The content of the message is most significant, for sure, but there’s no denying that the delivery is an element too.

        • http://deathbytrolley.wordpress.com/ Ron Brown

          I’ve just watched 3 of her vids. Honestly, I see positively nothing special about them. Not a single original idea – not even close. There is nothing that she said that I haven’t heard dozens (or hundreds) of times, haven’t thought of myself countless times, etc. I don’t even think her delivery was that great at all, really.

          I’m not trying to hate on her. I agree with her on everything I’ve observed her to say. But I see no reason why she’s achieved any sort of following aside from her looks – her accent may give her a bit of allure, too.

          • Anonymous

            Well atheism is hardly an original idea.  Arguments against dogma have existed for as long as dogma has.

          • RyanN

            She is telegenic, as Jason observed. And easy on the eyes, as you have noticed. People like hearing things they already agree with echoed back to them. Better yet if those things are being said by a pretty girl. Fox News knows this.

            None of that is to say that Cristina is anything other than highly intelligent, articulate, and persuasive in her arguments. But that doesn’t stop Ron from being right… she, and 99% of the talking heads on the ‘Tube, are not adding anything new to the argument. hoverFrog is also right. Christopher Hitchens hasn’t said anything really that Voltaire didn’t say. Biggest difference is that Voltaire had wit and class, while Hitchens does not. But they say basically the same thing.

            The point here, that Hayley missed spectacularly, is not that she is “only a ‘sexy accent’”… which nobody ever claimed… it’s that there isn’t much else setting her apart from any other intelligent person with a webcam.

            To Cristina’s credit, I do (personally, anyway) find her videos better than Lacey “GoGreen”‘s. Lacey I felt like was doing nothing but regurgitating whatever she had just heard or read in whatever university cultural studies or philosophy class she had just been in that semester. Cristina on the other hand I think comes to her own conclusions even if those conclusions are nothing earth shattering.

            • http://deathbytrolley.wordpress.com/ Ron Brown

              I personally don’t even get what people are talking about when they say that she has good delivery. Her delivery is fine, but from the 3ish videos I’ve watched of hers, I didn’t think it was spectacular.

              Something that annoyed me – and which I did a blog post on years back – was when Lacey complained about people criticizing her for her provocative video attire. It’s pretty obvious that when she was making those videos, she deliberately dressed in a sexy fashion (e.g., nearly always wearing a low-cut top) in order to reap benefits – e.g., increased video viewership, positive attention, etc. One could argue that I can’t know her true motives, but c’mon… Anyhow, I wasn’t buying it when she was complaining about people criticizing her for her choice of clothing. If she’s gonna go out of her way to dress that way for the benefits of doing so, I think it’s kind of unrealistic and uncalled for to get all upset when you also get the flipside of the coin that she is putting on the table.

              • Great American Satan

                You’re saying it’s pretty obvious she dresses like that for attention / benefit, but that is a pretty flimsy assumption.  Maybe she just likes to dress that way.  Why assume she’s a whore?  Kind of rude of you. 
                Is she only allowed to join a debate if she’s dressed in a baggy pantsuit or a burqa?  Where do you draw your line?

                • http://deathbytrolley.wordpress.com/ Ron Brown

                  1) I did not say that she was a whore.
                  2) I did not say that her attire disqualified her from having the right to participate in debate. Notice how I didn’t say that her points don’t count or are less valid? All I said was that it showed a lack of realisticness on her part to dress in a manner that is deliberately sexually provocative, to welcome the benefits of this (e.g., more YouTube hits and subscriptions), but then be surprised and outraged when people call her out on what she is doing – using her looks to get her ahead with regard to things that are not about her looks (her arguments). I’m not saying that she shouldn’t be able to take the route she took – I’m just saying that if she wants to take the good parts of using her looks to get ahead, she should expect that some people will call her out on it.

                  3)I don’t think it’s much of an assumption that she was going for attention and benefit. Why else would she dress like that if not to draw attention to herself?

                  Next, please spare me the ridiculous contrasts of burkas and baggy pant suits. There is a world of clothing options between low cut cuts and completely covering your body. In fact, the grand majority of clothing options fall between these points.

                  If you cannot even admit that going for attention and benefit by dressing that way is not, at minimum, a highly plausible interpretation, then I have serious doubts about your honesty in this conversation.

                • http://www.facebook.com/d3st88 Morva Ádám

                  First of all, it’s certain that Lacy dresses provocatively for attention. Personally, I don’t care much, I like her. Showing cleavage does not make one a whore, although, I prefer when people don’t try to put pressure on my more animalistic side in intellectual matters.

        • http://deathbytrolley.wordpress.com/ Ron Brown

          I should add that the vids I watched were each among the most viewed and/or the highest rated, so I did make an effort to enable her to put her best foot forward, so to speak.

    • Big E

      You can doing something different or do something better.  I would say that Cristina is a success by doing what she does better.  Her looks are an obvious asset but not as important as her articulation.  She comes across as passionate and sincere with a wonderful sense of humor.

    • Anonymous

      Her style and particularly the delivery sets her apart from others. It’s not about what she says, but how.

    • Peter Mahoney

      I think that Zomgitscriss is awesome!
      I subscribe to many YouTube atheists, and surf many of their videos, and hers are consistently brilliant and funny.

      I agree that MUCH of the material of ALL of the atheist bloggers, YouTubers, etc. include ideas previously written last century (Bertrand Russell) or hundreds of years ago (David Hume) and thousands of years before them (ancient Greeks, etc).

      BUT… every generation and culture benefits from finding its OWN voices to reach and connect with them. So I love hearing from Zomgitscriss, or ThePeach, or TheThinkingAtheist, or CompletelyLovely, or QualiaSoup, or here with Hemant Mehta.

      Dawkins/Hitchens/Harris/Dennett are also awesome. But Cris presents with a funnier sense of humor, a disarming playfulness, yet still with an confident attitude of ‘I-intellectually-kick-theists-butt-in-this-argument’.

      Also, while I dearly love the “4 horsemen” of “new atheism”, if I had to decide whether I would watch a slightly dry lecture by one of them vs. a 5-minute funny yet dead-on-point video by Cris, I’ll go with Cris.

      Luckily, I don’t have to chose. I enjoy them all.

      • http://www.facebook.com/d3st88 Morva Ádám

        QualiaSoup and TheraminTrees are actually very, very original in style, creativity and content. Perhaps they are the most original producers out there. Love them to bits.

    • http://www.facebook.com/d3st88 Morva Ádám

      Ron, for newer generations (or people who didn’t or couldn’t contemplate these before) things that you’ve perhaps heard thousands times before may be completely novel.

      Christina is a beautiful female and that might very well be one of her greatest strengths, but she is also sharp and funny, has a good style and she is not from the US, what must be refreshing for many viewers.

      I’m trying to think of really novel ideas or videos she made, perhaps there are, but I can’t recall any.

      She is a great lass.

      • http://deathbytrolley.wordpress.com/ Ron Brown

        Fair enough. And at the end of the day, I’m glad people are hearing the ideas.

        My initial curiosity was just “Is there anything beyond her looks that make her special among atheist bloggers/vloggers?”. And really, the answer appears to be a clear “No”. There are plenty of well-read, well-spoken, thoughtful, funny atheist bloggers and vloggers out there that will never get the attention or adulation that she gets, and it’s not because she’s particularly good at what she does (she’s decent, but there are many others that are just as good but remain undiscovered because they don’t have her aesthetic advantages). I don’t know that there’s anything other than that that is *special* about what she does.

        People like Thunderf00t and NonStampCollector have a genuine value-adding effect on the content of the atheist side of the culture wars. As far as I can tell, she merely adds a pretty and slightly novel package to the stuff that is and has been on offer from countless other sources for a long time.

    • anyman75

      I think the most distinctive thing about her is that, she is never boring. And she transmits her sincerety in her thoughts very good IMHO.  I have seen hotter atheist girls out there but couldn’t watch most of their videos until the end because they were boring. 
      Maybe her ideas are not new, or has been told thousands of times before but her presentation makes the difference. She’s like a teacher that you’d love to go into her class. Think of Sheldon from the Big Bang Theory. Although he would be very complete in his subject, would you like to be his student? Cristina is just the opposite of that…

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1535286477 Roxane Farrell Murray

    While there are a lot of atheist video makers whose work I enjoy stumbling across, I make a point to look for hers.

  • godless lib

    Her videos are fantastic and I think she deserves as much respect and recognition from fellow  non-believers as Dawkins and Hitch.

    • Rayan

      Agree on Hitchens. He’s a pompous blowhard who hasn’t done anything
      except repeat Voltaire, only with less wit and grace. I like Cristina
      more than that guy. But Dawkins has actually done a lot with his career.
      He doesn’t deserve to be grouped with bloggers and YouTubers.

      • Rich Wilson

        To each their own, but there are a LOT of people out there (myself included) who think Hitchens is pretty damned witty.  I love Dawkins on evolution, but his atheism doesn’t give me the same tingle as Hitchens’s.

    • Rayan

      Agree on Hitchens. He’s a pompous blowhard who hasn’t done anything
      except repeat Voltaire, only with less wit and grace. I like Cristina
      more than that guy. But Dawkins has actually done a lot with his career.
      He doesn’t deserve to be grouped with bloggers and YouTubers.

  • http://eternalbookshelf.wordpress.com Ani Sharmin

    Her videos are great.  She’s outspoken, funny, and informative all at the same time.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1019365643 John J. Ronald

    Cris is very good at playing multiple characters in imaginary dialogues that are funny, witty, and make some very excellent points from an atheist/humanist point of view.  If you like Brian Dalton’s Mister Deity you will probably like Cris also.

  • http://twitter.com/Data_Jack DataJack

    She is very good at presenting and, more importantly, supporting her ideas. She uses humor and snark very well, and takes on many important subjects.

    Look at her recent videos on “racial realists” if you think she is just part of the Youtube echo chamber – she is demonstrably not.

  • EdgyLlama

    Thanks for pointing me to her videos.  I just watched a couple and she’s awesome – she’s not just another pretty face.  :)

  • Rich Wilson

    There may be a thousand people speaking the same thing, but for some reason one will speak to me.  Maybe it’s the message, or the editing, or the accent.  Maybe it’s the angry or the soft.  Maybe it’s the Voltaire or the Dostoevsky.

    All that matters is that it matters to someone.

  • Anonymous

    We’ve seen a number of posts about attracting more women to atheist activism.  Criss is a perfect example of an outspoken female atheism and great for feminism as well as atheism.  If some don’t find her original or interesting then go watch someone else.

    • jose

      I don’t think she’s great for feminism.

      • http://www.facebook.com/d3st88 Morva Ádám

        She makes a good point.

        • jose

          sure, dude.

  • http://tormentofprecautions.blogspot.com/ Chris Fairall

    I noticed this morning that she will be on the ABC’s Q&A programme here in Australia tonight:
    http://www.abc.net.au/tv/qanda/

  • Ayeung213

    She spoke here in Melbourne on Sunday at the Think Inc conference. I admit, I dismissed her before as just being a pretty girl, so I never watched her videos. It was her first solo speaking engagement, and I was blown away by her articulate message. She more than held her own during the panel discussion with Neil DeGrasse Tyson and Michael Shermer. Btw, she was dressed quite conservatively too.


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