you know, my academic career has been a struggle. there are many factors in that, which i won't enumerate. but on the other hand i have tenure now and i've always had a job, even though i went into several mays not knowing if i'd be teaching in septembers. i cycled through disciplines; i've been a professor of communications, 'humanities and sciences', political science, 'art and art history' as well as philosophy. i've worked at vanderbilt, alabama, penn, millersville, penn state harrisburg, mica, and dickinson. honestly, all of this was just about trying to hold on. anyway, my kids had health insurance and shit. and what i'm proud of - and which has also partly been made possible by what i think of as my marginal career - is that i really did do whatever i wanted. i wrote exactly what i wanted, and i wrote it in exactly the ways i wanted to write it, and i honestly represented my own experience. i swore to do that after grad school, and i have. i have never not been paid a living wage to do what i wanted to do, including teach. so that is a lot lot to be grateful for. (on the other hand, i still owe 30k in student loans, and i'm 55).
if i could lament one thing about philosophy now, it is that most of it is written in a kind of generic academic voice, and takes up pretty well-defined disciplinary questions of the moment. the good part of that is that it ends up constituting a kind of collective project, even within the constant disagreements that have to be central to the conception of philosophy (it is a discipline of agument, after all). but when i think back on what and who is worth reading in the history of philosophy, it is great big and extraordinarily distinctive voices. surely if you named ten historical philosophers off the top of your head, they would have that quality. even someone like aquinas is remaking as much as instantiating the philosophical/theological discourse he's in, and on the other hand is stunted by all the texts he's trying to venerate and emulate and the institutions that embed him. i think we've lost a lot of that boldness and distinctiveness, and indeed we literally lost it when we lost people like davidson, quine, rorty, danto, baudrillard. this is what i admire about zizek, for example, or latour: they still give that flavor. right now they seem like outliers, though i'm not saying there aren't a lot of intersting eccentrics here and there. you'll often find them in the provinces, or isolated from the big research-1 discourse.
anyway, i don't mean to assert that i am playing on that level; i sincerely try to turn that over; the reception is not in my power, nor can it be, nor should it be. i have tried to write according to the demands of the project and the subject-matter, not in order to be acclaimed. sometimes i read my own stuff as being there, sometimes i don't, and nothing is harder to do than to squarely or honestly or 'objectively' assess your own work. but i did always intend to end up there, at least in the sense of saying exactly what i do believe in as me-ey a way as i can (well, also to prove my positions in your face). i am not going to stop trying.