If you’ve noticed these incendiary posters hung around Brooklyn, you’ll be happy to know we found the man behind the curtain. Mark, who opted not to share his last name—“because I’ve been putting down so many blogs”—is a 25-year-old reality-TV producer with (no surprise here) a history of rejection and a big-ass chip on his shoulder.
Mark spent years submitting his writing to places like Vice, Gawker and The Awl, but he rarely heard back, and never got published. “I would try to give in to their writing style and appease to these blogs and very journalism-based platforms where I’d have to restrict my standards,” Mark says. “And I just got sick of it.”
So he decided to start Williamsburg-based Blish and called on contributors by posting flyers nailing BuzzFeed (which he refers to as BuhzFeet), Vice (Vise), Gawker (Galker), Huffington Post (Huphington Poast), Gothamist (Gothamish) and others for what he calls their “mass-produced, cookie-cutter-type posts.”
Blish is not a blog, as the name (a combination of “blog” and “publish”) makes clear. “We’re not really apt to calling ourselves a blog, because I feel at one point in time it was a prideful, independent-based thing, but it’s devolved today into this conglomerate-type business,” Mark says.
Instead, Blish is “an independent-based writing platform where the experienced writer who’s unable to get published can submit their work that will provide us a thought-provoking break from the reality that is writing today,” Mark says. It accepts written submissions from anyone and in any style, from fiction to journalism to personal essays.
But Blish isn’t just a platform for struggling writers; it’s also a self-declared “new regime” and a manifesto against mainstream media. “What you experience now on the Internet is headline-based, it’s sensationalism, it’s tabloid-esque culture that has developed through this need to be in the now with news,” he insists.
That said, Mark admits he himself “went a little bit overboard” in promoting the site.
“One time I was posting a missing person poster, and a police officer saw me do it,” Mark says. “And it’s obviously illegal to post these things. He was like, ‘What are you posting?’ He was trying to get me in trouble. And I was like, ‘It’s just a missing person.’ And he was like, ‘Oh, OK, totally fine.’ I guess it worked out and I started leaning more toward those posters in case a cop were to come up to me again.”
Mark says he’s gotten a reasonable number of responses from writers interested in submitting to Blish. “Some people have sent some really weird things and I wasn’t sure if it was a joke,” he says. “One woman talked about her experience shitting. That was one that I didn’t know if it was serious or not, but it turned out it was. I’m not trying to set some kind of highfalutin standard.”
Asked whether he feels jilted by the media and is running an attack campaign, Mark says, “I think a sense of bitterness is there, but I feel like it’s fueled something greater. I could have just been bitter and attacked them and that’s it, but I’m fueling something that’s going to help other people in the long run.”
Blish will be up and running within the next month; in the meantime, all jaded writers feel free to submit your work to firstname.lastname@example.org.