I'm sure all of your are keenly interested in George Neville, 1st Duke or Bedford, and the drug problem his action figure might have, except that ol' George there is dead, he wasn't really the first Duke of Bedford, and the allegations regarding his action figure are greatly exaggerated by someone who was wrong on the internet. But before we go down this road, we first need to discuss aggregators on the internet, what they are and how they work because today's subject is about the foibles - one might even say evils - of internet aggregators with the usual cautionary admonitions not to believe everything you read. So before we can get to the all important topic of the Duke of Bedford's action figure, let's start with the first internet aggregators to become popular, the news aggregators. A news aggregator is:

"client software or a web application which aggregates syndicated web content such as online newspapers, blogs, podcasts, and video blogs (vlogs) in one location for easy viewing." (1)

That's it in a sound bite: news aggregators crawl other internet content and assemble what they find in one place for the convenience of visitors to aggregator websites. A good example is one of the first well-known internet aggregators: Google News. Like any means of delivering information to people, not all aggregators are created equal. Certainly Google News is on the upper end of content quality in the land of internet aggregators; and I think anyone can think of at least one news aggregator that's an internet equivalent of the National Enquirer.

I'm sure that a lot of folks have had their time wasted by opportunistic aggregators that attempt to be an end-all source of information on one specific subject by aggregating all mentions of that subject and repackaging it. An example of this phenomenon is dexknows.com, which is a business information aggregator. If you are looking for a particular type of business in a town, chances are that any internet search engine will return a top level result from dexknows.com. This dexknows.com result will present you with info about business in that town that its software has aggregated from other sites on the internet. Where dexknows.com fails is for businesses in small towns. The aggregation software tries too hard to deliver a result - any result - as opposed to telling the user it has no information. The aggregator has the same problem as a know-it-all who just can't admit that he or she doesn't know something.

Here's a good example of aggregator absurdity using dexknows.com. Let's use the small town of McIntosh, South Dakota, population 176, which is pleasant small town three miles south from the state border with North Dakota, some 40 miles west of the Missouri River. The land is prairie of rolling low rolling hills, where the most visible industry is ranching. I own some farmland there, land that my great grandfather homesteaded in the 1880s. It's a nice place where solid, salt-of-the-earth, honest and hardworking people live. The little reservoir there is a great fishing spot and when it comes to hunting, you can't beat that part of the Dakotas for the quality of its pheasant hunting

So here's what happens if your do an internet search for restaurants in McIntosh: dexknows.com will tell you that there are two restaurant results for McIntosh - Maverick Steakhouse & Cocktails and Bully's Chop House, both of which just happen to have addresses in Aberdeen, South Dakota. If you know nothing about South Dakota, let me be the first to inform you that Aberdeen is about 150 miles to the east of McIntosh. To my best knowledge of having been there, I believe there is only one restaurant in town, the Main Street Bar and Cafe - but it burnt down last year and I don't know if it's been rebuilt or moved to another building.

Aggregators on the internet are only as good as the intelligence of their software, which brings us to hot topic of George Neville's action figure's drug addiction - and yes, you're right: that funny odor you've noticed coming from this blog is the sweet smell of sarcasm!

There's an aggregator I just noticed today called vipfaq.com. I found this wonderful little gossip aggregation site while doing a search on trying to ascertain the cause of death in 1483 of George Neville, formerly the Duke of Bedford and heir presumptive to the throne of England. He had not a great life. His father was John Neville, Marquess of Montagu, the brother of Richard Neville, Earl or Warwick, the famous Kingmaker of England's Wars of the Roses. George's father and uncle died at the Battle of Barnet in 1471, which their side lost. Needless to say, George lost his title and most of his Neville lands after the victorious Edward IV had his father and uncle labeled by Parliament as traitors. George ended up with greatly diminished prospects under the guardianship of his second cousin, the future Richard III, then Duke of Gloucester. George Neville died unmarried at the age of 22 at the Castle of Sheriff Hutton, just north of the city of York (2). I still haven't found anything on his cause of death - but I'm not done searching yet. I got distracted from my search by vipfaq.com's website popping up in the midst of my web searches on George Neville's cause of death.

First off, I was really surprised to find that vipfaq.com is a bit confused about when George Neville died. Here's what vipfaq had to say about George Neville's death (3):

Is George Neville 1st Duke of Bedford still alive? Are there any death rumors?....... Unfortunately no, George Neville 1st Duke of Bedford is not alive anymore. The death rumors are true.

This is right next to this tidbit:

How old was George Neville 1st Duke of Bedford when he/she died?........ George Neville 1st Duke of Bedford was 532 years old when he/she died.

Plus there's this:

When did George Neville 1st Duke of Bedford die? How long ago was that?........ George Neville 1st Duke of Bedford died on the 4th of May 1483, which was a Friday. The tragic death occurred 532 years ago.

Well, George's death was indeed tragic, at least for him...but what's with the date of death confusion? Did he die at the age of 532, which would have been his age in 1993 - he was born in 1461 - or did he die in 1483, 532 years ago? I think someone needs to check their SQL or PHP code and fix that math mistake in the software.

The information from vipfaq.com is just fascinating for the details it reveals about George Neville, especially for me since I have been having such problems finding good information about his life and death. For example, about that action figure...

Are there any books, DVDs or other memorabilia of George Neville 1st Duke of Bedford? Is there a George Neville 1st Duke of Bedford action figure?........ We would think so. You can find a collection of items related to George Neville 1st Duke of Bedford right here.

The words "right here" at the end of that quote are hyperlinked text which when clicked on will take the user to:

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss? url=search-alias%3Daps & field-keywords=George%20Neville%201st%20Duke%20of%20Bedford & tag=fairymeadows-20.

This lands the user on Amazon's website, bring up the results of a search through Amazon's online products in all categories on their website for items related to George Neville, 1st Duke of Bedford. Now look carefullly at the end of the URL address: I have no idea what "fairymedows-20" is for at the end of the web address for a search on amazon.com, and I'm not sure I really want to know.

Now when I followed this link myself, here's a partial list in order of what Amazon presented to me as items that might satisfy the criteria of being memorabilia of ol' George Neville and perhaps even his action figure:

  • A New Benchmark In Marriage Guide - 267 Success Secrets, Paperback, by Dorothy Simpson. A book full of information and trivia about marriage.
  • The White Queen, Philippa Gregory's racy bodice-ripper romance disguised as historical fiction, which was made into a racy and just-as-inaccurate mini-series on TV. I'm still trying to figure out why every suit of armour in the mini-series was missing its right pauldron.
  • An autograph of Neville Duke, the famous British WWII ace.
  • A CD of selections of movie music from famous British films.
  • Several more books, both biography and historical fiction about prominent War of the Roses and Tudor women.
  • A 1975 reprint of the first DC Comics Flash for $15. What a rip-off! It's not worth that because it's not the real first edition - it's just a reprint.

Now, did you see any action figure there? I didn't either. Right now I'm feeling very disappointed. After all, you can get action figures of Richard Wagner, Funko-Pop Mister Rogers and Joseph Stalin (4). So why shouldn't there be a George Neville action figure, perhaps of him at age nine attending his betrothal ceremony with Elizabeth of York, future queen of Henry VII?

Given that vipfaq.com is a celebrity gossip aggregator, some of the more colorful sorts of information are collected by this site. For example, the following:

Many people enjoy sharing rumors about the sexuality and sexual orientation of celebrities. We don't know for a fact whether George Neville 1st Duke of Bedford was gay, bisexual or straight. However, feel free to tell us what you think! Vote by clicking below.

What followed here was a poll where you could vote for gay, straight or bi sexual preference for George Neville, former Duke of Bedford. The poll was followed by poll results to date:

100% of all voters think that George Neville 1st Duke of Bedford was gay (homosexual), 0% voted for straight (heterosexual), and 0% like to think that George Neville 1st Duke of Bedford was actually bisexual.

There was also financial information on George Neville, which surprised me since it was dead wrong. George Neville had an income of 400 pounds a year at the time he died, which for the year 1483 was a lot of money. Here's vipfaq.com on the subject:

What is George Neville 1st Duke of Bedford's net worth in 2015? How much does George Neville 1st Duke of Bedford earn?........ According to various sources, George Neville 1st Duke of Bedford's net worth has grown significantly in 2015. However, the numbers vary depending on the source.

Of course, there was some discussion of recreational drug abuse:

Did George Neville 1st Duke of Bedford do drugs? Did George Neville 1st Duke of Bedford smoke cigarettes or weed? It is no secret that many celebrities have been caught with illegal drugs in the past. Some even openly admit their drug usuage. Do you think that George Neville 1st Duke of Bedford did smoke cigarettes, weed or marijuhana? Or did George Neville 1st Duke of Bedford do steroids, coke or even stronger drugs such as heroin? Tell us your opinion below.

The results of this website poll were:

0% of the voters think that George Neville 1st Duke of Bedford did do drugs regularly, 0% assume that George Neville 1st Duke of Bedford did take drugs recreationally and 0% are convinced that George Neville 1st Duke of Bedford has never tried drugs before.

Not exactly helpful, was it? How will parents know if George Neville as a public figure is a good role model for their children if people don't make their opinions known?

Last, vipfaq.com brings up a vital subject that needs to be out in the open about every important public figure, living or deceased:

Are there any photos of George Neville 1st Duke of Bedford's hairstyle or shirtless?........There might be. But unfortunately we currently cannot access them from our system. We are working hard to fill that gap though, check back in tomorrow!

Needless to say, I will be checking their gossip aggregator daily now to get news on this vital question. Oh, yeah! George Neville, tragic romance figure beef cake and victim of those terrible Plantagenets! I MUST score a pic of the dude shirtless, gels! I'll pin him up next to my pic of Charlton Heston from the mud pit scene in The Ten Commandments.

shirtless.png

References

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/News_aggregator (accessed 26 Jul 15)
  2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Neville,_1st_Duke_of_Bedford (accessed 26 Jul 15)
  3. http://www.vipfaq.com/George%20Neville%201st%20Duke%20of%20Bedford.html (accessed 26 Jul 15)
  4. http://www.amazon.co.uk/Accoutrements-11444-WAGNER-ACTION-FIGURE/dp/B000BY29B8, http://neighborhoodarchive.com/articles/20140210_custompop/index.html, http://www.amazon.com/KING-JOSEPH-STALIN-ACTION-FIGURE/dp/images/B006MZKG6K (all accessed 26 Jul 15)