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Germs, Genes, and Bacteria: How They Influence Modern Life (Collection) by Joyce A. Schoemaker, Paul J. H. Schoemaker, Anne Maczulak, Greg Gibson, David Clark

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4. Bacteria in popular culture

Bacteria and viruses are silent, invisible, and multiply inside the body. Sometimes they mutate; sometimes they kill. No one could blame a novelist for making microbes into antagonists for a hero to overcome. Bacteria have for decades infiltrated popular culture, and the arts offer a surprising number of lessons on disease as well as Earth ecology. As important, the arts have communicated people’s fears and conceptions of bacteria. Misconceptions about bacteria in movies and novels reveal how people view germs. The perceptions of bacteria give insight into the effects bacteria have had on society and events in the past.

Popular culture, regardless of the century, has understandably made more of deadly pathogens ...

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