Some people watch the morning news on television for trends in society; others read editorials or just the headlines, or even Evans and Novak. For our part, we watch bumper stickers.
Anyone who has been watching bumper stickers as we have will be aware that pigs have risen to first place in the affections of Americans. And it's about time. Typical examples of the pig's progress on bumpers are: ''Have you hugged your pig today?'' or ''Honk if you love pigs.''
For too long the pig has been the despised term of bitterest opprobrium. But as is often the case in vicious unfairness, the object of hate has dissolved its unpleasant bonds by the sheer injustice of the attack.
We spoke to a male chauvinist pig of our acquaintance a few days ago and found him in high spirits. He had always been a delightful person and we were glad to know he had not suffered unduly. He was as pleased with his new rise in status as he had been sad when pigs were scorned.
''I did think it was terribly unfair,'' he mused, ''to praise chauvinist women as liberators while chauvinist men were called pigs. But it's all right now that pigs are lovable.''
Later on we interviewed a policeman as to how he liked his designation as pig. ''Oh, it's not bad. As a pig, I feel I have come up in the world. Pigs are people, too, you know.''
Pig pictures and dolls are everywhere. Recently in a gift shop I encountered a kindly lady buying a huge stuffed pig. She smiled. ''Last year I bought my granddaughter a stuffed cat, the year before it was a dog, and the year before that it was a bear. So I'm not allowed to buy her any more animals. This year I can keep the pig for myself.''
The wonderful thing about this year of the pig is that it proves nothing stays on the bottom forever. Everyone can hope.
Even if you are one of those people who get called names like chicken, snake-in-the-grass, shrimp, or even a worm, one day you are sure to gain a rise in status. An animal lover friend of ours thinks the time is coming when the rat will be better thought of.
Just yesterday, as I was about to cross the street with permission of the ''walk'' light, I did not see a car full of kids make a speeding right turn at the intersection. The one in the seat nearest me yelled, ''Watch where you're going, you old buzzard!''
As a buzzard, I patiently wait my time of ascendancy.