Folks are grousing about RSA’s decision to tap actor Sean Penn for the closing keynote this week, since the man knows nothing about security. I share the sentiment, yet I find myself daydreaming about being in the interviewer’s chair instead of RSA President Amit Yoran.

From the keynote description:

Yoran will talk with Penn about his work as an actor, producer and director, about his philanthropy and public advocacy, and about the complicated relationship between Hollywood stardom and privacy.  As with our keynotes in recent years from Alec Baldwin and Stephen Colbert, we hope the conversation with Sean Penn helps our community think about our industry—and our world— in new ways.

I have questions for Penn that have nothing to do with his Rolling Stone El Chapo interview.

My mind is on his activities in the early 80s, specifically his time playing stoner surf dude Jeff Spicoli in “Fast Times at Ridgemont High.” Specifically, I want to know:

  • If he was worried that sending a pizza delivery guy into the school would pose a security risk?
  • After he crashed the Trans Am of the school’s star football player (Charles Jefferson, a.k.a. Forest Whitaker) into a construction site, did he realize he’d pulled off a feat of social engineering and obfuscation by making it look like the opposing football team wrecked the car? Jefferson certainly fell for it, and Spicoli succeeded in masking his role as the true culprit.
  • Did he make arrangements to maintain security in his backyard when he hired Van Halen to play at his birthday party?

Those questions are a stretch, but then so is RSA’s idea to fit Penn into a security keynote and to seriously expect security practitioners to walk away with new ways to think about the community and industry.


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