When The Downward Spiral by Nine Inch Nails was released, I was so impressed, not least by the presence of Adrian Belew as guest guitarist and producer, I listened to each and every track, and read up on it. There was something transcendent about it, in a strange way. "Big Man With A Gun" was Reznor's less than sly dig at the macho posing of some of the early "gangsta rappers". Considering the prevalence of guns in our culture, however, the song definitely has a much broader attack. Considering the way far too many men supplement nature with a piece of steel that goes bang, it is pretty much a dig at most American men. One thing Reznor has in his favor in making this statement is, despite the sheer weight of volume and noise associated with NIN, there is something vulnerable about so much of the lyrical content. Now, obviously, he hides this vulnerability behind layers of sound, and one can get distracted by the presence of naughty words if one allows oneself. For all that, though, this is an anti-machismo song, by someone who, at the time, was a young man wrestling with demons he has since been able to set aside (alcohol, specifically; I recently read he's been clean and sober for a decade).