I just dug up an old doc with a single sentence idea for a research topic.
It very closely resembles what I'm actually spending time on right now, even though it was written before I was even finished with my MS.
So I guess the lesson is that my thoughts are continuous and coherent on some level, even if I don't always have access to that level.
I stumbled upon "the new citroen" by Barthes after getting linked from Jim Conley's sociology of the automobile course syllabus. I'm confused though: if neomania is the obsession with the novel via consumption, then certainly when Barthes writes, "The D.S. has all the features ... of one of those objects from another universe which have supplied fuel for the neomania of the eighteenth century and that of our own science-fiction ..." he is writing criticism, even though the passages describing the instrumentation, bodywork, and the public response to the car seem to elevate it. In the worst case it's possible that Barthes didn't realize the poisonous effect that the image of the automobile would have on transportation in general. Indeed he refers to the DS as "the supreme creation of an era, conceived with passion by unknown artists, and consumed in image if not in usage by a whole population which appropriates them as a purely magical object." Even those that don't use the car (not just the DS) are affected by it, but it's no longer magical, it's in terms of air quality, climate change, congestion, and public health impacts.