First, a question: when was the Stone & Oldernberg piece written? The notes on the first page are kind of hard to read. '69? '71?
This seems to be one of the more condescending pieces we've read. Not so much to the intended audience, which appears to be intellectuals, but to wrestling fans in general. In particular, the issue of "working-class authoritarianism" seems deeply problematic. Granted, it's not the authors' term, but they don't exactly critique it, either.
Distilled, working-class authoritarianism is the idea that poor and uneducated people can only think in simply binaries, and apply this to entertainment, politics, and personal relationships. It's not an unpopular idea, even if it is a rather impolite one in an ostensibly egalitarian society. I'd derail the post to argue with its substance. I do, however, have to quibble with the unstated assumption that an inability to conceptualize more complex conflicts is the only reason for entertainment based on simple binaries to be appealing. Certainly, none of the wrestling fans in this class are going to raise their hands and agree that they like wrestling because they're too dumb to comprehend nuanced relationships.
So, it's kind of a dumb explanation, but to what extent is it just a stereotype of provincial wrestling fans, and to what extent is it bad sociology? The methodology seems a bit sketchy to me on the "characteristics of the audience" section. Defining a wrestling fan as someone who thinks of wrestling when someone says "sport" seems like it would cut out a good chunk of fans in general, and probably most of our class. I remember Sam mentioning that TV ad rates for wrestling were once extremely low due to a similar demographic mistake. Do the stereotypes drive the bad methodology, or does the bad methodology drive the stereotype?
In conclusion, social science is evil and will destroy the world.