Sounds like Ethel Merman

Annie Oakley symbolized by Ethel Merman
Just like the song says, I can’t bake a pie.

You have to love Ethel Merman in Annie Get Your Gun, singing her heart out.

The competition between sharpshooter Annie Oakley (Merman) and marksman Frank Butler (Howard Keel) rolls out in the song, Anything you can do I can do better.

Each claims to better the other.

“I can knit a sweater,” says Butler.

“I can fill it better,” says Oakley.

But when it comes to pie?

Oakley asks, “Can you bake a pie?”

Frank says, “No.”

“Neither can I,” Annie admits.

Annie and Frank married and joined Buffalo Bill’s Wild West show where she became chums with Sitting Bull (Tatonka Iyotake) and was given the Sioux name Watanya Cicilla (Little Sure Shot).

A modern-day British sociologist named Ann Oakley has gotten mixed up with Annie Oakley in popular discourse, and you will find quotations from the sociologist attributed to the 19th century performer.

“If love means that one person absorbs the other, then no real relationship exists any more. Love evaporates; there is nothing left to love. The integrity of self is gone,” says the contemporary Oakley.

The sharpshooter is quoted as saying, “I ain’t afraid to love a man. I ain’t afraid to shoot him either.”

Blog #22 for Native American Heritage Month


About Cynthia Coleman Emery

Professor and researcher at Portland State University who studies science communication, particularly issues that impact American Indians. Dr. Coleman is an enrolled citizen of the Osage Nation.
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