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Why Your Fraternity Sucks: Zeta Beta Tau

This is a recurring TFM series. Catch up with all installments of Why Your Fraternity Sucks by visiting the archive.

ZBT

Some people are brothers of Zeta Beta Tau. But many, many more people are NOT brothers of Zeta Beta Tau. This TFM rush preview is for those in the latter group.

Fraternity: Zeta Beta Tau

The guys most commonly known around campus for pushing an oversized beach ball around the quad or student union trying to shove their philanthropic kishkas down everyone’s throats. Despite hitting the cap established by the local businesses who pledged a set amount of money per signature months ago, ZBT will continue to obnoxiously roll around an off-brand Omnikin orb like some modern — perhaps more tragic — spin on the story of Sisyphus, who is forced to spend eternity not lugging a boulder up a mountain but rather as an inner-city elementary school gym teacher going around circumventing district budget cuts. Don’t get me wrong, it’s for a great cause in the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, but maybe leave some donations for the rest of us and keep the amazing technicolor dream circle at home from time to time, Joseph.

If you haven’t picked up on my not-so-subtle references to the Old Testament — aka the BESTament — before Yahweh went soft, this is the OG Greek lettered Hebrew crew. But like any Jew with Hollywood ambitions that involve being in front of the camera and not behind the scenes, most ZBT chapters try to (unsuccessfully) distance themselves from nationals and their Zionist roots for mass appeal.

I get wanting to win a few Intramural games, but have a little faith and pride in your people, ZBT. Imagine if Moses recruited a few Egyptians to his power walking squad. You could argue they might have reached the promise land faster sprinkling in a few dudes that got out of their slave headquarters more often or hadn’t spent their entire existence hauling two ton slabs up the sides of pyramids, and maybe ol’ Mo gets to see the fruits of his labor instead of wandering around in circles for 40 years and dying like an asshole, but then the whole “chosen people” rhetoric loses credibility. Stick to your guns, ZBT, and stop pandering to dirty gentiles. The whole self-loathing Jew shtick is a bit overplayed.

Size: 90 chapters

Though, none are really worth mentioning other than the Florida chapter that became the mark for Panama City’s crusade to end spring break. With the exception of punting newborn puppies into an active volcano, being accused of spitting on U.S. veterans is the easiest way to have the public grab their torches and pitchforks and become the most hated organization in the country.

Forget that the evidence points to the fraternity being setup as a ruse to clean the family friendly beaches of PCB from the wicked beasts that flood their town for 3 weeks and keep their economy going, people will now associate ZBT with troop-hating Jews from now until the end of time. Tough rap to shake, especially when your nationals immediately throw you under the bus purely to save face.

And not trying to pile on, but you’re kind of singlehandedly responsible for killing one of the premier spring break destinations in the college world. PCB was a national treasure and now future generations will never get to experience the magic of boning in the port-a-potties of Harpoon Harry’s.

Founded: 1898

As a Zionist sanctuary club by Professor Richard James Horatio Gottheil and 15 of his Jewish students at Columbia University. But as one Google search discovered, Gottheil hated publicity, responsibilities, meetings, debates, and from the sound of it, breathing. A man after our own hearts, am I right? I’m guessing he wasn’t a huge factor during ZBT’s expansion phase.

Famous ZBTs that suck:

Obviously the athletic list leaves a bit to be desired, but you can not just get your taxes done, you can get your taxes won thanks to the two ZBTs that founded H&R Block. They also had the same guy who got O.J. Simpson off and gave Johnny Travolta another acting gig. I’m not sure which one of the two is the bigger violation. I’d crack on you guys for creating the worst network on television, but I’m sure brother Paley is rolling in his grave with every forced laugh track placed in a CBS comedy.

Reason you might not suck:

Bobby Kraft and Harold Ramis are/were straight gangsters. I don’t really need to get into it. Both of their résumés speak for themselves.

From the horse’s mouth:

Brother Woody

Every other fraternity on campus uses the fact that we’re a historically Jewish fraternity to out recruit us. Whenever I meet someone in a different organization they assume I’m Jewish and tell me they would have, at the very least, looked into rushing ZBT if it was a secular fraternity instead of avoiding us completely. If I had a nickle for every Greek member who assumes we’re all Jews I could probably pay off our chapters debt.

Brother Jake

Being paired with a top sorority for a philanthropy event was one of the biggest moments in my chapter’s history. The other big moment was when we were kicked off campus for holding a slave auction with pledges in the 80s.

Brother John

Nationals loves to hammer home the whole jewish founders and heritage thing even though we’ve been secular since ’59. Also in my own chapter there’s only 1 jew and from conventions, the majority of people in ZBT are not jewish.

Definitive reason you suck:

I’m not really big on the whole accept your bid and now you’re a fully initiated member policy you got going on. Yearly brotherhood reviews sound exhausting, too. You know what cuts the fat and gets rid of the scrubs in your chapter? Getting to know a kid outside of his first name, undeclared major, and what high school sports he claims to have played. If only there was some tried and true semester-long process that would give more insight into these freshmen’s lives before just granting them full rights into the brotherhood. Ah, who am I kidding? Welcome to ZBT, Jacob.

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Dan Regester

Dan Regester @Dan_Regester is a Senior Writer and Video Guy for Grandex Media. Delco trash. UCF alum. Famous FIJI on Wikipedia. Bit of a gambling problem. Advocate of shipping the homeless to Mars. Email tips to Dan@totalfratmove.com

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