Not that I think it will matter much, but why can't you lift the shield on one end of an RCA connection where the shield is not needed to complete the signal path, i.e. where there is a twisted pair, one being hot and the other the ground return. The shield could then be connected at both ends, one end, or neither, and the circuit path will be uninterrupted. The shield need not be part of the circuit path as you insist. In fact, since there exist non-shielded RCA cables, it is a logical impossibility that the shield always be part of the circuit path.
Semantics, I'm sure, but it probably is confusing a lot of people here.
And for the record, I am a firm objectivist, have been for years, and think that the vast majority of cables sound exactly alike (this applies to analog, digital, speaker, power, whatever). Where there is a difference, it is because one cable was not designed and/or sized properly for the job.