Spy magazine co-founder who didn't make quite as good as the other one Kurt Andersen has been named the Los Angeles Art Center College of Design's "visionary in residence" for the spring semester of 2009. Kurt, admitting that he "should be flattered," admits to actually feeling "embarrassed." Which he should! Because the position is a handy acknowledgment that Andersen has a history of not delivering on his grandiose ideas and has officially wasted his vast potential. That is more or less what "visionary" means, as we understand it.
Getting an academic post as a "visionary" ("in residence" no less!) is just a few steps from a lifetime achievement award, a string of honorary degrees, and the dreaded title of "legend" (used when you're done in this metaphorical media town). A "visionary" is one who can articulate brilliant ideas but can't get rich from them. Tesla was a visionary. We still send checks for our electric bill to the man who stole all his ideas.
Related: Gawker acting managing editor Nick Denton had "had it with being called a visionary" back in 2001. Thankfully he eventually shed that title and became a cold, emotionless tyrant internet publisher, burning through "visionaries" like they came free with a pack of Marlboro Lights at an Amoco.
Have fun in L.A., Kurt!