"When I think back to my childhood, I think of Mum's moods: awful, glowering, miserable silences that descended on the house without warning...she always seemed to be looking for a reason not to be happy..." (p. 12-13)
I get it, Elton. When you (the gay music icon) throw a tantrum, it's natural and excusable, but when your mom gets cross and sulks in silence, it's because she enjoys being unhappy.
It's a known fact: people hate imperfect mothers more than they hate the Marquis de Sade. Mothers get blamed for everything. If a mother has a character flaw, it's not because she's human, it's because she's broken. And if there's one thing I've learned from Elton's cirque-du-bullshit, it's that a person can be an adult for over half a century and still blame his mother for everything.
You'd think that being close to Sheila for such a long time would give Elton enough perspective to make him a little more forgiving and understanding of the flaws that he didn't fully grasp when he was a child.
As it is, it sure looks like he's going to milk this strategy for all it's worth. He, the father who is old enough to be a great-grandfather, is hell-bent on playing the "scared little boy with a flawed mother" card. He thinks he can manipulate fans that way, and the worst part is that he's right.
This is something that society needs to work on. It's just another manifestation of sexism: looking at a woman who happens to be a mother and thinking, "Is she warm and fuzzy enough? Is she cheerful enough?" Everybody knows what the ideal mother would be (in theory), so when a woman becomes a mother, she is automatically evaluated according to the "ideal mother" metric.
It's only fair to see mothers through the same lens as all other human beings, because mothers are human beings. They don't deserve to be described as backward case studies to be gawked at, simply because they succumb to bad moods.
So, put it back in the deck, Elton. The joke is on you because fathers who act like vulnerable children are scary in their own right.