Even normally sure-footed commentators lose their compass from time to time. ''A radical'', Terry Eagleton has observed, ''is one who cannot overcome her astonishment that..., by and large, that this is it'' (2001:101). But he's surely got things back to front. For the true radicals are all those individuals and organisations that daily remain unastonished: if you think about it, only an extremist could sleep well at night knowing that famines in the South are as routine as they are preventable; that Bill Gates earns more each hour than all the workers in Liberia do in a week; that sexism is rampant, despite the advances made by feminism; or that murderous discrimination on the grounds of religion, ethnicity and sexual preference remains so common worldwide as to seem a natural part of the human condition. That the people to whom Eagleton refers are conventionally thought to be ''radical'' says much about the world's topsy-turviness and the need to challenge what passes for normalcy.