Spoken by Stanley Cavell, or one of his co-panelists on an amazing panel. The core issue was a long running debate between Cavell and Bob Gooding-Williams regarding a dance between Fred Astaire and Leroy Daniels in the film, "The Band Wagon." The debate is featured in a new book edited by Andrew Norris, The Claim to Community, soon to be out from Stanford University Press. The panelists were Cavell, Gooding Williams, David Kim, Norris, Tom Dumm, and Cornell West. Tavis Smiley was in the audience. West, of course, was mesmerizing. He said something about how hard it is to find one's voice, how hard it is not to be overtaken by an echo, or echoes of what others have said.
Back to the debate, Cavell reads the dance as allowing for a glimpse behind ideology, a momentary shattering, in a way, of the ideological confines that the film relies on (Astaire is dancing with the man who has shined his shoes). Gooding Williams is concerned with the instrumentalization of race, and of the presumption of a kind of authenticity that is located in the black man and then transferred to the white man as 'shine', the shine on the shoes that let's Astaire dance. West reminded the audience that Astaire was indebted to the Nicholas Brothers and Bojangles.
Gooding-Williams said that his father shined shoes. He also became a dancer. In part by admiring and mimicking Fred Astaire.