There are often no cats in catastrophes but there is a ‘cat’ in ‘catastrophe’. Sarah Grunfeld, a student at York university missed this important distinction between using a word and mentioning it by overhearing a professor say ‘All Jews should be sterilized’ – which he was mentioning as an example of a sentence, rather than advocating. Muffti guesses that this shows the power of offensive speech to offend even when the person is merely pointing at offensive speech rather than actually using it. Or it shows the conceptual confusion of Sarah Grunfeld.
The story can be read here.